How can I volunteer to transcribe English text to English subtitles? | Coursera Community
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How can I volunteer to transcribe English text to English subtitles?

  • 4 November 2018
  • 12 replies

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I have been trying without success to find out how to contact people connected with transcribing English presentations to English subtitles. The Coursera help lady keeps sending me to a GTC link - but this appears to only deal with translation - and not transcription - and English is NOT one of the languages listed. Any thoughts?
Best regards

Dr Michael Neugarten

Best answer by Claire 5 November 2018, 17:36

Coursera pays a 3rd party company to generate subtitles for each course. If there are significant errors we can ask the company to regenerate the subtitles for a video. Please email (the email address for GTC problems) to report issues.
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12 replies

Hi Michael
The transcriptions are made from the subtitles, these are created by an outside company directly from the spoken words, that is probably why they give you the GTC link.
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Well, they are mishearing quite a number of them, which often results in confusion and detracts from the otherwsie professional level of the course. The course I refer to is the Yale University course - Introduction to Classical Music - which has an enthusiastic and very capable presenter, Professor Craig Wright, but his delivery and diction are not always clear, and I was using the English subtitles to try and understand him better. But when these too are clearly incomplete or incorrect, it really is quite frustrating.
I know, it is often really bad! What you can do is the following: click the little flag icon below the video, in the drop-down menu click: issue with subtitles. Then note down the exact time where the mistake is, then write down what it is.
Like: At 5.03 ‘bread’ should be ‘broad’
Then : send report.

This all should get done in betatesting!

I am not sure if any course staff will actually see it. You can then tell HC to tell Course staff, or are they active in the course?
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I started this topic after trying with little success to clarify the fact that if you send a report, the text of your report remains. So when you try and send a subsequent report, you still see your previous text. The options are then Remove or Send. If you press Send, the same report is sent again. If you press Remove, the flag window closes on you - all very silly.

I would expect a new empty text window to open each time one presses Report, but that's not what happens.

Someone in Coursera help has now told me that the transcriptions are done by Course staff and not by volunteers in the GTC. I asked that they contact me, but this appears not to be possible. I asked to contact them, but was told that this too was not possible as contact with them was only internal.

I was then asked to send screen shots (!) of the screens with errors so that these could be forwarded to the mysetrious people who do or do not correct them.

All very wearying. And a shame, because if they were running something like a Wiki system, then we could all offer suggestions of corrections, and the subtitles could actually be seen to be corrected.

As it stands now, this is all very open loop, with no indication of when, or even, whether, these errors will be corrected.
Extremely cumbersome!
Yes, the text in your flag report stays, also when you are betatesting. I am not quite sure if HC is correct about who makes the subtitles...I was told that an outside company handles the subtitles. Surely course staff would not make such blatant mistakes?
There are tools to correct subtitles for betatesting, something called Jubler.
Userlevel 7
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Coursera pays a 3rd party company to generate subtitles for each course. If there are significant errors we can ask the company to regenerate the subtitles for a video. Please email (the email address for GTC problems) to report issues.
coursera should add mechanisms for suggested edits right on the video's page.

email is not the right tool for the job...
The transcriptions are really useful for skimming the videos, watching in an environment when sound is not good, or for hard of hearing, but there are many errors in the transcript of the course I'm currently watching, and the errors would be very easy to correct by someone as they are watching, as suggested by PabTorre above. Is Coursera considering any mechanism to allow learners to edit errors in transcripts?
Userlevel 7
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@MichaelN, regarding the issue you encountered when trying to send a report – I recommend sending a description of this issue to (if you haven't done so already). As Claire mentioned, this is the correct email address for reporting transcription and subtitle issues.

Thank you for your sharing your feedback, @PabTorre and @michelle. I've passed it along to my colleague. I understand how frustrating it is not to be able to easily correct mistakes in transcripts – I've had this experience as a learner myself. At this time, the system is set up in a way that doesn't allow editing by the community. For significant transcription/subtitle errors, please do submit a support request via We do hear your feedback and it will be considered.
Thanks Laura! If I were to download the transcript file and correct it in Word or post it as a Google doc with suggestions, would Coursera implement those changes?
Userlevel 7
Badge +13
Hi @michelle. Thanks for your patience as I looked into this. It's generous of you to offer; unfortunately, it's not possible at this time. I recommend giving feedback by following the steps outlined here: Rate a course or course materials.
I don't want to waste time, yours or mine.
  1. Captions are consistently wrong.
  2. Volunteers lining up.
  3. Current correction system is lame and ineffective.
  4. Detracts seriously from enjoyment of course.
  5. Consider piping existing captions through translation system, that's where all these volunteers looked first. It can only improve further translation.


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