Key points to consider

All video content requires a text based alternative such as a transcript or captions to make it accessible by users with a vision or hearing impairment.

Captions are also useful for:

  • Users in noisy environments
  • Improving comprehension
  • Understanding poor audio or difficult accents
  • Searching video content

Captions should be written with the assumption the viewer cannot hear anything at all. Include:

  • Who is speaking
  • Key headings
  • Sound effects
  • Any other useful information

Types of Captions

Subtitles assume a viewer can hear but not understand the dialogue. They are used to provide translations from other languages. Subtitles may be used on part or all of a video file and can be open or closed.

Open Captions are text included as a permanent part of the video file and cannot be turned off.

Closed Captions are a separate text file listing the video dialogue and time stamps for synchronisation with the video file. A video file may have multiple linked closed caption files for a viewer to select from.

Depending on the length and quality of your video captioning can be done using a free tool such as YouTube or a Amara, or a specific application. There are also many caption service vendors available - costs and processing times vary a great deal.

Third Party Content

Any content you use, even if it is published by someone else must be accessible. You may need to:

  • Contact content owner and request captions and transcripts
  • Create your own captions and transcripts
  • Find alternative accessible content