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Importing and transcribing media files

In this guide, you'll learn common ways to import and automatically transcribe files with Descript.

Before getting started

  • You'll need an audio or video file ready to import and transcribe. Or, if you want to record video or audio directly into Descript, check out our recording how-to guide.
  • If a file is over 15 hours in length, separate it into shorter parts before importing and transcribing the content.

How to transcribe your files

Set your transcription language

The first time you import and transcribe files in Descript, you will be prompted to set the transcription language. You can adjust the setting later from your App settings. We recommend enabling Always ask before transcribing if you transcribe in different languages from project to project.

Import and transcribe a file

  1. Open or create a project.
  2. Drag your audio or video file into the script area, and Descript will transcribe it.
  3. If your file has only one speaker, add the speaker's name. If there are multiple speakers, ask Descript to detect the number of speakers. Click here to learn more about using speaker detection.

Screenshot of adding and transcribing a file in Descript

Import and transcribe files all at once

If you're adding multiple files at once, you can choose to have the files added one after another in your script, or group them in a multitrack sequence. Sequences allow you to group multiple files together (i.e., different speakers from the same interview) and edit them in a single unified script.

  1. Open or create a project.
  2. Drag your audio or video files into the script area, and Descript will begin transcribing them.
  3. Add the speaker's name if needed.
  4. Check combine files into a multitrack sequence if you want to group the files in a sequence. Or, just click Done to add the files to your script one after the other.

Screenshot of adding and transcribing multiple files in Descript

Imported files are added to the media library

Once you've transcribed your files, they will be added to the media library. You can use the files in any composition within the project. You do not need to import and transcribe them again.

Add a transcribed file to an existing script

If you're working on a composition that already has a script, but you need to add and transcribe another file:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to add the file
  2. PressReturn (Mac) or Enter (Windows).
  3. Press + next to the new blank line, and select  File into Script. Or, just drag and drop the file onto the new blank line.

Screenshot of adding and transcribing a file into an existing script

Adding a file from the media library?

When adding a file from the media library to your composition, you have two choices: Insert into script or Add new layer. Choose Insert into script for files that are transcribed or require transcription. This adds the file to your script and takes care of transcription if needed.


Tips and best practices

  • If you need to upload numerous files and only want to transcribe a portion of them, consider adding them in bulk to the media library instead. You can then choose which files to transcribe. Click here to learn more about the media library.
  • After transcribing several files and creating a combined sequence, you can edit and align each track using the sequence editor. Click here to learn more about the sequence editor.


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