Accessibility > Accessibility Guidelines > Closed Captions for Video

Closed Captions for Video

What Are Closed Captions?

Closed captions are a text version of the audio content of a video. This includes spoken words, but also information about who is speaking and any sounds relevant to understanding context and meaning. For example: [laughter], [applause], [ominous music], etc.

Closed captions should be synchronized to the audio. They appear on the screen as the video plays so that the information being presented in the video is the same information being conveyed by the text in the closed captioning.

Why Add Closed Captions?

Adding captions to your videos is essential for complying with accessibility standards, since they're necessary for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. But captions can also be helpful to a variety of other audiences.

See why captions are important for videos.

Some Other Benefits of Captions:

  1. Simultaneously reading and hearing the same content can help focus attention and reinforce the information.
  2. ESOL students may better understand the content if they can read it while they listen.
  3. Students can still learn from videos even in loud places (busy homes and public transit) or quiet ones (in a library or office without headphones).
  4. Text that accompanies audio can take the guesswork out of accents and turns of phrase.

How Do I Add Closed Captions?

Caption Videos You've Created

You can add closed captions to your own videos by uploading them to MediaHub or YouTube. Both services can automatically create closed captions, but you will still have to check the captions and correct them as needed.

Instructions: 

Check for Captions on Videos That You Did Not Create

To check for closed captions on videos from YouTube and other sources, play the video and select the CC button on the bottom right of the video player. If you don't see the CC button, that particular video player might have an alternate way to turn captions on/off. If there is neither a CC button nor any other way to turn on captions, then the video is not closed captioned.

Example: CC button on the YouTube player.

YouTube player with arrow pointing to closed captions button.

Important: Watch the entire video with the captions on to make sure the captions are not only present but also consistently accurate. Do not use the video if the captions are not accurate and you are not able to get the video creator to correct them.

Tip: You can filter for captioned videos when running a search on YouTube. But you must still make sure that the captions are accurate.

Publisher-Provided Videos

If your publisher offers a video that is not closed captioned, contact the publisher directly to request that the resource be captioned for your students. If the publisher can't provide accessible content, it is your responsibility to find or create accessible alternatives — or to switch to a publisher with accessible content.

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