How to Download and Convert YouTube Videos for Transcription

How to Download and Convert YouTube Videos for Transcription

Transcribing YouTube videos is very straightforward, if you are able to manipulate the video files and use them as audio files. This does not apply of course if you are looking to subtitle them. does not charge any extra fee for transcribing YouTube videos because we are able to use them as MP4 files or if needs be we can convert the files into MP3 and use them as audio files. Some traditional transcription companies do charge considerably extra to transcribe video files and we have come across prices around the £3 per minute mark. In comparison our price is usually 95p per minute, depending on a range of factors (for an automatic quote please click here).

Subtitling (click here for our service) is a different type of work and is not part of this article.

These are our guides on the software available to use if you need to convert a YouTube video to an audio file. All of them are Windows based rather than Mac – most are desktop software (ie software you download to your PC and use offline). The main piece of software we recommend is downloaded used on a desktop and we have profiled it first. Any prices we have given are the commercial licence costs.

Why Convert YouTube Files?

We have to convert YouTube files to a format that can be manipulated to easily transcribe the audio. Transcribing from YouTube files can be awkward and it is much easier and faster to work with MP3 files.

Accessing YouTube Files

It can also be hard to find how to download actual YouTube videos as well. Usually the easiest way is to:

  1. Use one of the services below that allows you to copy and paste the URL address (ie the bit that starts into the software and let the programme do the work for you.
  2. Some YouTube videos have a download button you can click, but not all. You must be aware of copyright restrictions..

Switch Audio File Converter Software $34.99

Switch File Converter
Switch File Converter – NCH Software, Australia

NCH is our software house of choice – their transcription software as well as their audio file software has been second to none for many years. It is reasonably priced and usually does exactly what it says on the tin.

Switch is no different. You simply Add File, select the Type of File you want Switch to convert it to, select where you want the file saved and click Convert. It is very reliable and works well with YouTube videos.

You can get details of the software from We do not have any links to NCH ourselves.

Any Video Converter $49.95/Free

AVC File Converter
AVC – Any Video Converter – watch out for adware..

Easy to use and has a free and paid version. The paid version appears to simply enable you to convert DVDs as well, but the free version is considered to be good as a standalone product.

It offers a range of services, but includes the option to download videos from YouTube and save them as MP3s. Like a lot of free programmes you have to be careful when downloading to avoid getting a load of adware installed as well.

4K YouTube to MP3 £13.20/Free

4k File Converter
Easy to use – does what it says on the tin

4K YouTube to MP3 is a piece of software specifically dealing with extracting the audio from videos. You can also save the audio into different formats including M4A. Other videos can be converted as well including from Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook and SoundCloud. Simple to use – select the web address from your browser for the video, click the ‘Paste URL’ button and off you go. to get started. The premium version enables you to convert more than one file at a time. No adware is downloaded at the same time as this software, which is always a bonus.

Free YouTube to MP3 Converter

Free YouTube to MP3 converter
Free Converter – watch out for the adware

This is a specific piece of software that again comes with a health warning – it comes with Adware when you download it, so not one we can recommend. We understand that it is easy to use – usual paste a YouTube video URL and the software does the job for you, but we cannot recommend anything that potentially results in a load of junk being installed on your PC…


ClipGrab - comes with Opera
ClipGrab – Opera browser anyone?

Easy to use, but again attempts to get you to download software – in this case it is the Opera browser. Again we are unable to recommend it, even though reports say the software does exactly what it says on the tin – copy the YouTube video URL and the software converts it (also works with other video sites as well).

Zoom Video Downloads

Zoom video capture from NCH
NCH Software offering – paid but easy to use.

Zoom seems a lot more accessible for files than YouTube – there is a file recording option that enables you to access an MP4 file of your video recording free of charge. If there are any issues with this you can consider using Raw Screen Recording – NCH in Australia offer a programme that can assist – Debut Video Capture software. Free to download but in order to use probably best purchasing the Pro Version – $39.99. This software can be used to record your screen and any audio so has a wide range of uses. Easy to use and support tends to be good.