Any videos or audio recordings that are created for a course must have captions and/or a transcript available. In a sense, captions and transcripts are another form of alternative text for deaf and hard-of-hearing users. Rather than alt-text on an image, which is converted into an audio format for blind and low-vision users, captions and transcripts convert a primarily auditory medium into a visual one. This allows deaf and hard-of-hearing users to fully engage with the material.
Descriptive Text Transcript (Web-based Audio)
Audio recordings–such as announcements, podcasts, and interviews–must be accompanied by a text transcript.
When using third-party recordings, like podcasts, the following steps should be taken to assess the audio and create a transcript:
- Was the audio posted by the copyright holder? If so, a transcript may already exist. If one cannot be easily located, the copyright holder should
be contactabout creating a transcript.
- If the audio was not posted by the copyright holder, obtain a copyright-compliant version of the audio.
- If the audio cannot be obtained, it may be worth considering the educational value and need of the audio recording. Is there another way of sharing the information with the students?
- If you determine that no transcript exists and no accessible alternative can be found, submit the video to a transcription service to produce a transcript, which can be linked on the page with the video. Please contact Global Marketing and Communications web team for vendor recommendation.
Synchronized Captions (Web-based Video)
Like audio recordings, all video recordings should have captions on them. In some cases, such as uncaptioned, third-party videos, descriptive transcripts are an acceptable substitute.
Captions vs Subtitles
Captions are an accessibility tool that many people are familiar with, but it is important to note the difference between captions and subtitles. Subtitles are simply a running transcript of the dialogue that is occurring on-screen. Captions are more encompassing and include a description of any audio that is necessary to understand the information.
When working with third-party video clips like this, work through the following steps:
- Was the video posted by the copyright holder? If so, the video may already be captioned. If the video isn’t captioned, it may be worth contacting the copyright holder about captioning.
- If the video was not posted by the copyright holder, obtain a copy of the video clip.
- If a copy of the video cannot be obtained, it may be worth stepping back and considering the value of the video. What is its purpose ? Could the same information be conveyed through another, more accessible video?
- Finally, if you have determined that there are no alternatives to the video and no way to obtain a captioned version, submit the video to a transcription service to produce a transcript, which can be linked on the page with the video. Please contact Global Marketing and Communications web team for vendor recommendation.
Please note that YouTube’s auto-generated captions are absolutely not an acceptable form of captioning on a video. While the technology is improving, it is in no way equivalent to human-created captions.
Many users like faculty create videos throughout the quarter–weekly wrap-ups, announcements, etc. Ideally, these would all be scripted, and those scripts would be the base for the creation of transcripts and/or captions. Short of this ideal, however, consider the following:
- Do the videos contain academically important information?
- If so, is the academically important information available elsewhere (in text format) on the website?
For example, if a video includes information about one of the assigned readings, but that information is also included in the weekly overview, then captions or a transcript for an unscripted recording are less important. If the academic information in the video cannot be accessed by students in any other way, however, then a transcript is required. That said, it’s a best practice to provide transcripts or captions on as much course material as possible, academically relevant or not so that all students are fully included in the complete course experience.