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 or create your own transcripts. FutureLearn manages the 3Play account in order that we get good volume discounts.
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 onto Course Creator.
Please let us know who needs access to 3Play – send names and email addresses to email@example.com. They will receive an email invite notification.
Top tips for 3Play transcription
- Upload low-resolution versions of your video to save time and bandwidth.
- 3Play Media is based on the West Coast of the USA. Consider the time zone difference in terms of turnaround time (US Pacific Standard Time).
- Be clear and consistent with your video file naming to help you manage the files easily. Name the video files the destination step number.
- 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).
How to use 3Play
- Upload your videos requiring subtitles and transcripts to 3Play.
Choose the default English Transcription and Captioning service.
- Proofread the files once done.
You will receive a notification email from 3Play. Log into 3Play and preview the transcript, checking each one for accuracy. Watch out for misheard words or phrases which the transcriber was not able to interpret - those will be marked [INAUDIBLE]. Correct any such words before uploading to Course Creator. Edit the transcription, where necessary, on the 3Play Media platform.
- Select the required files and ‘request download’ when happy
It’s best to do this as a complete batch. Select the ifle format WebVTT files (.VTT). Do NOT download the PDF option from 3Play, it is not acceptable for upload to Course Creator.
- Upload WebVTT to Course Creator
The download will appear as a .ZIP file in ‘My Downloads’ when ready. 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 generate a transcript.
The transcript will appear below the video player (with clickable timestamps).
- If your video is not presented in English. When uploading subtitles in Course Creator, tick a box to force the subtitles to be displayed by default (learners can choose to switch them off).
- Create PDFs (optional)
To increase accessibility provide a downloadable PDF transcript on video and audio steps. This is not mandatory, but learners express gratitude for these resources. Download a .Txt file from 3Play, and format it into the transcript template at the bottom of this page. Although this is optional.
If you need to adjust an existing subtitles file because the corresponding video has changed (you have made edits to video for the second run of a course) use the 3Play ‘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 will adjust the subtitles to match the new version of the video. This service has a 1-day turnaround.
These prices are accurate as of February 2021 but are subject to change by 3Play without prior notice. We endeavour (but cannot guarantee) to keep these prices up to date. Prices are displayed in US dollars.
FutureLearn bill partners quarterly (for the quarters ending 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December) for the charges incurred. We additionally charge a 10% admin fee to cover the collation of the monthly cost reports, the invoicing of the charges plus the costs of monitoring payments of these invoices.
If your time is short, you can get services 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.
Price guide for transcription and captioning services
|Service||Turnaround time||Per minute (USD)||Per hour (USD)|
|Standard||4 business days||$2.50||$150|
|Expedited||2 business days||+ $0.75||+ $45|
|Rush||1 business day||+ $1.50||+ $90|
|Same Day||8 business hours||+ $2.50||+ $150|
|Two hour*||2 business ours||+ $5.50||+ $330|
|Extended||10 business days||- $0.20||- $12|
|Difficult Audio Surcharge||+$1||+ $60|
*Only available for videos less than 5 minutes in duration
|Service||Per minute (USD)||Per hour (USD)|
If someone appearing in your videos is a non-native English speaker, they are welcome to speak in their native language. An English transcript must be provided so the video is accessible to as many learners as possible. You are welcome to provide transcripts in other languages alongside English, if you want to make your course more accessible to non-native English speakers. We can support transcripts in the following languages.
Translation services via 3Play start from $4.50 per minute and vary depending on the level of service and the language you are translating to.
3play also offers optional services of audio descriptions.
|Service||Per minute (USD)||Per hour (USD)|
More helpful links
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary