WCAG 2.0 1.2.2

For users who are hard or hearing or deaf, captions are essential.  Mobile users, users who watch while on noisy surroundings or who just prefer to see the text, or users who are not native speakers of the language spoken in the video benefit from having captions.  Captions are a text equivalency that responds to WCAG 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded). Level A.

As part of their self-paced MOOC, SUNY Empire State College and SUNY Buffalo State College, in their initiative funded by a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant, have created and shared “Captions for Video Overview” (Duration 2:11) You can also read a transcript.

Engineering and Liberal Arts Online Learning has tested and documented a protocol for "Do It Yourself" captioning using Dragon Naturally Speaking you can implement whenever you are creating a new video.

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.  Their mission is to "promote and provide equal access to communication and learning through described and captioned educational media."  Their website offers resources and training on best practices for descriptions and captioning practices.

The W3C has created the Web Video Text Tracks (WebVTT) format to allow mark up that links files to render captions and descriptions in HTML



Accuracy is required in terms of:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Speaker identification
  • Captions for silence, sound, effects and music
  • Punctuation
  • Verbatim or identical transcription of spoken text and other relevant elements
  • Frame standards
  • Duration
  • Placement
  • Number of characters per line
  • Font
  • Synchronization

Pre-production (before recording)

Write a script and record using Camtasia or any other screen recording software.  Camtasia provides automatic captioning and an editing interface for improving accuracy of the automatic captions.  The script, if followed, eliminates the need to create a transcription after the fact.

Existing videos

Transcribe the audio content including relevant audio elements other than narration or conversation.  The transcription can be provided as an alternative representation of video content for those users who prefer reading a document.

You may also resort to automatic captioning and editing.

Services for captions

Custom protocols evaluated by the Office of Digital Accessibility and ELO provide a viable alternative for captioning.  A comparison table is under development. Depending on the software you use, you may be able to caption your videos yourself.  Possible protocols include the use of Dragon, Camtasia, and other software applications.  For more information or training, please contact the Office of Digital Access.

Captioning Providers

YouTube - Offers automatic captioning upon upload in most cases.  It also offers the ability, through their editing interface, to edit inaccurate captions. The range in accuracy of their automatic service depends on many factors including environmental noise and accents.

Vimeo - The Disability Resources Office has prepared tutorial videos on: How to Request Captions using Vimeo and How to Enable Captions using Vimeo.

Amara is an open source collaborative captioning service.  Learn about it on “Captioning with Amara” by AccessMOOC Creative Commons license (Duration 6:14). Or read the video transcript if you prefer. - $1/minute captioning service used by other regent institutions claims 99% accuracy.  No specific documentation provided for the claim other than references to their recruitment and training process.

3-Play Media - They offer services through contract services and also provide live captioning services.