These guidelines are intended to help University staff, faculty, and students ensure video content is accessible to people with auditory disabilities.
When video content is broadly used by students, employees, or the public to carry out or participate in the core educational and administrative activities of the University, captions should be included. Automated captioning services, such as YouTube’s automatic captions, and self-produced captions generally are insufficient for providing access to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Instead, you should procure professional captioning services.
When requesting video production from the University’s Video Productions Services team, you should indicate that the video be delivered with captions.
For pre-recorded videos that are displayed on University websites and social media posts, either closed or open captions are needed for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Captions are also beneficial to non-native speakers. Captions provide a synchronized text description of audible content presented in the video. They should be accurate, run from the beginning to the end of a video, and not interfere with or block the visual content of a video. According to the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) captions should aim to be: accurate, consistent, clear, readable, and equal.
Quality in Captioning
According to the DCMP, there are several key aspects to quality captioning, including text, language mechanics, presentation rate, sound effects, and speaker identification, that need to be considered when providing captioning in video content. Each of these aspects is best handled by a trained expert.
Closed captions are captions that can be turned on or off. They are provided as a file, most commonly .srt, that is loaded into a video streaming provider. Closed captions offer the benefit of user preference in placement, fonts, colors and more. Not all video streaming tools and platforms accept closed captions, in those cases you should use open captions.
Open captions are captions that are “burned” into the video itself so that the text is a part of the video and cannot be removed or turned off. Open captions are most useful when the video will be used on a platform that cannot accept closed captions.
Refer to the Social Media Accessibility Guidelines for more information about open and closed captions for social media platforms.
Also known by the technical term Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART), live captioning provides a text description of audible content at a live event. The captions are provided either with the captionist in attendance or with the captionist participating remotely via web conference. The presentation of the caption text is shown on a screen in the room, or if the event is being broadcast, the caption text is presented over the bottom portion of the video content.