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Digital Education and Information
College of Education and Human Development

How do I make video accessible?

Add captions or subtitles to all of your videos so they are accessible to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions are used by many people who want to watch videos without the audio. Some learners appreciate seeing the text in addition to hearing it.  Most online video players have a button to turn captions on and off (usually in the lower right side of the viewing window).

Captions not only display the textual equivalent of spoken words but also identify the speaker(s), sound effects, and descriptions of music. Captions should be synchronized–appearing at the same time as the audio is delivered. All videos you produce should be captioned for those who need or want them.

How to caption a video

Open captions are always on the screen; closed captions can be turned on or off.  YouTube, the primary tool for video sharing on campus, has a great captioning tool. It is recommended to transcribe and set timings rather than use auto-transcriptions. If the video was recorded using a script, this text can be copied and pasted into YouTube’s captioning tool. YouTube will then set the timings automatically. See below for a link to a step-by-step tutorial on captioning in YouTube.

For more information on captioning best practices, read the “Captioning Key” guidelines –

Amara is an online tool that allows users to caption or subtitle YouTube videos that they do not own. The tool is similar to YouTube’s captioning tool. You can copy and past transcriptions and set timing or transcribe in real-time as you watch the video. Users of Amara can collaborate on transcriptions. See below for more information on Amara.

YouTube Subtitles and Closed Captions Tutorial (social tool for captions/subtitles)

University of Minnesota Disability Resource Center

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