FutureLearn has commissioned a 3rd party company (3Play) to transcribe video and audio content (including the course trailer) and generate closed captioning and transcripts. Partners are billed, quarterly, the full amount for the charges incurred. You are free to use a different service, but FutureLearn manages the 3Play account in order that we get good volume discounts.
The standard turnaround time is four working days. Partners are expected to manage this process, review the quality of transcripts and upload the subtitle files directly on to the platform using Course Creator.
Please let us know who needs access to 3Play – send names and email addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will invite you onto the platform and you’ll receive an email notification.
You can now start uploading your videos to 3Play for transcription. The service is easy to use, but here are some tips:
1. Upload to 3Play – You upload videos requiring subtitles and transcripts to 3Play, who provide a transcription service with a standard 4-day turnaround. Please choose the default English Transcription and Captioning service. Note: If time is short, you can get it done in 3 days, 1 day or same day at extra cost to you – please avoid this wherever possible by uploading videos well in advance of your course launching.
2. Check and edit – Once files are done, you will receive a notification email from 3Play. Log into 3Play and preview the transcript, checking each one for accuracy. Watch out for mis-heard words or phrases which the transcriber was not able to interpret - those will be marked [INAUDIBLE]. It’s important that you correct any such words before uploading the subtitles to FutureLearn. You can edit the transcription where necessary on the 3Play Media platform by following the steps outlined here.
3. Download – When you are happy, select the files you wish to download and select ‘Request Download’. It’s best to do this as a complete batch. You will be asked which file format you would like – select WebVTT files (.VTT). Do NOT download the PDF option from 3Play, which is not acceptable for upload to FutureLearn.
4. Upload WebVTT to FutureLearn – Once the download is ready it will appear in ‘My Downloads’ as a .ZIP file and you’ll receive an email notification. Download and unzip the files. You can then upload the WebVTT files to the corresponding video steps within Course Creator.
Adding a .VTT will enable subtitles in the video player, and will also generate a transcript which appears below the video player (with clickable timestamps).
Note: when uploading subtitles in Course Creator, you can tick a box to force the subtitles to be displayed by default (learners can choose to switch them off). This option should be used if your video is not presented in English.
5. Create PDFs (optional) – you also have the option to provide a downloadable PDF transcript on video and audio steps on FutureLearn. This is not mandatory, but often learners express their gratitude for these resources. To help you create a PDF transcription, you can download a .Txt file from 3Play, and use a branded template (.docx) with your organisation logo on it (you can request this from your Partnership Manager at FutureLearn).
Top tips and helpful links
- Upload low-resolution versions of your video to save time and bandwidth.
- 3Play Media are based on the West Coast of the USA so you need to consider the time zone difference in terms of turnaround time (US Pacific Standard Time).
- Do be clear and consistent with your video file naming to help you manage the files easily. It’s best to name the video files with the destination step number on FutureLearn. The resulting subtitle files will inherit this filename, making it easy to see which step they should be uploaded to in the course.
- 3Play provides tutorial articles and how-to videos that might be helpful as you get started.
- A WebVTT subtitle file is simply a plain text file that you can edit in basic text editor application such as Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) so if you need to make minor amends to a subtitles file after downloading it, you don’t need to visit 3Play. Just remember to save the file with the extension .VTT and don’t add any formatting (the file must remain as plain text, UTF-8 encoding).
Here are more helpful links:
If you find that you need to adjust an existing subtitles file because the corresponding video has changed (e.g. for the second run of a course, you have removed a few seconds from the start, or added a new introduction sting, or made some corrections to the video), please use 3Play and select the ‘Alignment’ service. After uploading the new edit of the video, 3Play will ask you to upload the old subtitles file or paste in the transcript text.
Please note that apostrophes and quotation marks may be automatically removed when using the re-alignment service. 3Play are investigating a fix for this.
3Play will adjust the subtitles to match the new version of the video. There is a 1 day turnaround.
3play also offers optional service add ons of audio description or caption placements.