Word Gap Removal in Descript Storyboard is Not Silence Removal

Descript's Shorten Word Gaps function cuts more than words. It also removes non-recognized audio. You may want to consider not using it in bulk for now.

You may have audio files that you transcribe and work with in Descript Storyboard that have speech and other audio. Maybe you have a piece that has audio in more than one language or there's laughter and other sounds on the audio.

Descript's "Shorten Word Gaps" function

If you try to remove 'gaps' using Descript's gap removal, you will sometimes find that it removes all those extra sounds as well. Although the expected behaviour would be to remove 'non-audio' gaps, or silences, Descript removes more.

The reason this happens is because Descript doesn't actually remove 'silence'. It removes 'word gaps'. So any portion of audio that still shows a waveform but doesn't have words recognized there, is treated as a 'gap'. That's why it may be removed.

Never remove word gaps in bulk

This is one reason I never like to remove word gaps in bulk using Descript's Word Gap Removal tool. I like to go through them one by one and click to remove or shorten them. If I happen upon a segment that has audio (albeit not words), I typically use the Range tool to make my own selection and remove that instead of letting Descript cut off my audio from that portion.

This is a common complaint many Descript users have (myself included). I suppose Descript is being careful to call this 'word gap removal' for a reason. It would be fantastic if another function were built to actually mean silence removal, and the word gap removal be kept.

It's a side-effect of Descript encouraging their users to edit in the transcript more and in the timeline less. How do you indicate 'waveforms' in the transcript? You can't really do it in a meaningful way.

How it could be done

One way that could be done is if non-word audio were marked on the timeline with a word tab but put something on it like 'noise' or 'non-word audio', and show that in the transcript, allowing editing, stretching it, just like any other word, but show it in a different colour or something. Plenty of ideas.

Vote for this feature?

At the time of writing, there's a popular request (currently under review) in the Descript Feature Requests forum you may want to vote on for this very thing.

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