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8 February 2024

The background is teal. The text says Unlocking Accessibility. Apple Podcasts. To the right is a smart phone.

Apple recently announced a new update set to revolutionise the podcasting landscape: the integration of auto-generated transcripts into Apple Podcasts, slated to debut with iOS 17.4.

Traditionally, podcasts, being an audio-centric medium, posed a significant barrier to entry for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, due to the absence of text-based alternatives. While solutions like transcription services existed, they often came with exorbitant costs and logistical hurdles, rendering them inaccessible to many content creators and listeners.

With the advent of auto-generated transcripts in Apple Podcasts, this accessibility gap is finally being addressed. Users will now have the ability to navigate episodes more efficiently, jumping to specific sections with ease. Moreover, content creators can fine-tune or supplement transcripts as needed, ensuring accuracy and comprehensiveness. Available in multiple languages and accessible in over 170 countries, this feature heralds a new era of inclusivity in podcasting.

Beyond catering to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, transcripts offer benefits to a broader audience. Individuals with cognitive disability may find it easier to engage with podcast content through the visual reinforcement of text. Furthermore, the presence of transcripts facilitates content sharing and enhances overall comprehension, amplifying the medium’s accessibility for all listeners.

Looking ahead, there is potential for further innovation in accessibility features across podcasting platforms. The concept of a “TranscriptKit” Application Processing Interface, proposed for third-party app integration, could expand the reach of transcripts beyond Apple’s ecosystem, enriching the podcasting experience for users across various platforms.

Much like audio descriptions and closed captioning have enhanced the accessibility of visual media, transcripts serve as a vital tool for fostering inclusivity in audio content consumption.

To find out more, read forbes’ article on Apple Podcast introducing Transcripts.