I've recently started doing a lot more work directly in my terminal - and I've learned that writing Bash scripts doesn't have to be scary. Today, we'll write a set of commands and scripts to execute directly in our terminal.

Before You Start

You will need a Deepgram API Key - get one here. You will also need to install jq.

Making a cURL Request

Open your terminal and type (or copy and paste) the following, not forgetting to change YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY with a real API Key, and then press enter:

curl \
  --request POST \
  --header 'Authorization: Token YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY' \
  --header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
  --data '{"url":"https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav"}' \
  --url 'https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?punctuate=true'

Let's break down each part of this request:

  • --request POST: is a HTTP request with the POST method.

  • --header 'Authorization: Token YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY' - include details to link this request with our account/project.

  • --header 'Content-Type: application/json' - JSON data will be sent with this request.

  • --data '{"url":"https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav"}'. - is the JSON data sent to Deepgram (an object containing one url parameter).

  • --url 'https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?punctuate=true' - the URL to make the request to (Deepgram's endpoint). punctuate=true enables the punctuation feature.

  • \ allows us to break one command over several lines for readability.

Shortening Your Request

The first example is handy for understanding all of the required parameters. Here is a more concise way to make the same request:

curl https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?punctuate=true \
     -H "Authorization: Token YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY" \
     -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
     -d '{"url":"https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav"}'

The first thing you'll notice is that the URL comes immediately after the curl command. You may have also noted the absence of an HTTP method - this would normally default to a GET request, but as this request has a body, a POST request is inferred. --header is shortened to -H, and --data to -d.

Adding jq

jq is an excellent command-line utility that allows you to display and manipulate JSON data. On the terminal, a pipe (|) is often used to send the output of one command as an input for a second command. jq expects some JSON as input and an expression to describe how to display it.

This jq expression will extract just the transcript from the returned data object:

| jq '.results.channels[0].alternatives[0].transcript'

You can add it to the end of your cURL request like so:

curl https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?punctuate=true \
  -H "Authorization: Token YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY" \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"url":"https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav"}' \
  | jq '.results.channels[0].alternatives[0].transcript'

Saving Output to File

Once you have the correct data extracted and formatted from jq, you can redirect the output to a new file by appending > output.txt to any command that prints to the terminal. Here it is in practice:

curl https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?punctuate=true \
  -H "Authorization: Token YOUR_DEEPGRAM_API_KEY" \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  -d '{"url":"https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav"}' \
  | jq '.results.channels[0].alternatives[0].transcript'
  > output.txt

Processing Multiple Files

You can create .sh files to execute from your terminal, which contain multiple lines of bash script. Create a new file called transcripts.sh and open it in a code editor. Copy and paste the following:


urls=("https://static.deepgram.com/examples/TrumpDemocratsMeeting.nancyshort.wav" "https://static.deepgram.com/examples/nasa-spacewalk-interview.wav" "https://static.deepgram.com/examples/deep-learning-podcast-clip.wav")


for url in ${urls[@]}; do

    curl -X POST https://api.deepgram.com/v1/listen?$dg_features \
         -H "Authorization: Token $dg_key" \
         -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
         -d "{\"url\":\"$url\"}"

  echo $RESPONSE | jq '.results.channels[0].alternatives[0].transcript' > $filename.txt

Let's break down each part of this file:

  • The first line - #!/bin/bash - is a shebang, and specifies which program should be called to run the script. In this case, bash.

  • urls is a variable containing an array with three URLs. Notice that arrays use parentheses, and items are separated by a space only.

  • dg_features and dg_key are variables you should alter for your exact use case.

  • Inside of the for loop:

    • filename extracts the last part of the URL (the filename), which will later be used to name the output file.

    • The curl command is the same as before, with variables interpolated. The output is stored in a new variable called RESPONSE.

    • RESPONSE is sent to jq, and then redirected into a new text file.

Run the file in your terminal with ./transcripts.sh. As a note, this request uses Deepgram's punctuation, utterances, diarize, and tier features.

Playing with jq

jq is a remarkably powerful tool. The following expression will loop through the results.utterances array, and format a string for each item interpolating the speaker identifier and transcript text:

echo $RESPONSE | jq -r '.results.utterances[] | "[Speaker:\(.speaker)] \(.transcript)"' > $filename.txt

The output looks like this:

[Speaker:0] agreement on other things that are really good. Nancy, would you like to say something?
[Speaker:1] Well, thank you, mister president for the opportunity to meet with you so that we can work together in a bipartisan way
[Speaker:1] to meet the needs of the American people. I think the American people recognize
[Speaker:1] that we must keep government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything.
[Speaker:1] And that you should

I hope you found this valuable and interesting. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch - we love to help!

If you have any feedback about this post, or anything else around Deepgram, we'd love to hear from you. Please let us know in our GitHub discussions .

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