How To: Video Captions

Chalkboard with the word Tips written in chalk.

Videos and audio with a text alternative such as captions, subtitles, or transcripts benefit users who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing, learning disabled, and have attention deficits. But any individual can benefit from accessible video and audio content:

  • Non-native English speakers or individuals learning English.
  • Individuals in sound-sensitive areas such as at libraries, at home with a sleeping baby or spouse, using public transportation, etc…

Captions, subtitles, and transcripts also provide:

  • Better user experience and content engagement.
  • Assistance to students for studying in note-taking, test preparation, and material comprehension.
  • Improved ability to locate information within the video or audio file through search engines.
  • Clarity when content has heavy accents, characters who mumble or whisper, over-powering music tracks and background noise.

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Differences

Text Alternative Distinctions
Type Definition
Captions Time synchronized text of spoken words, sound effects ([♪ Music Plays ♪], [Audience Clapping], [Storm Rumbling]), speaker identification, and other non-speech audio.
Subtitles Time synchronized text of only spoken words.
Transcripts Text or script of spoken words, with or without time references.

NOTE:

  • Closed Captions can be turned on or off within the player (most common).
  • Open Captions are imprinted on the video and can not be disabled.

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Course Content

  • All embedded or linked video and audio content should have captioning available and a transcript provided when located and added from the Internet.
    • Look for a Closed Caption symbol within the video service's player, select the default or English and review what is spoken against the captions provided.
      Closed Caption symbol most often represented as cc
  • To create original (self-produced and recorded) content it is best to first write and save a script within Microsoft Office Word and then record in a quiet distraction-free environment.
    • While some video hosting services offer auto-generated captions, they may not be accurate. A captioning request can be sent to elearning@fsw.edu to utilize 3PlayMedia's professional transcription services which FSW licenses. Please include the public or shareable video URL of the video for transcription.
    • The script written for the video recording can serve as the Transcript for the content.
  • For publisher content, check the accessibility of materials and provide this information to students or contact the publisher directly.
  • The Canvas Support Document on Videos describes how to add caption files to videos directly uploaded or captured within the platform.

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Captioning Tools

Although writing and saving a script for course video and audio content within Microsoft Office Word before recording is preferred, it can also be very tedious. Below are some tools to assist with authoring the text alternative to course content.

Google Docs

FSW provides students, faculty, and staff with a free Google Docs account which contains a speech-to-text tool called "Voice typing...". To use this feature it is best to use the Google Chrome browser, the computer must have a microphone (built-in or plugged-in), and the browser needs permission granted to access the microphone. For further information on voice commands and set-up please consult the "Type with your voice" help document. Once the microphone is working follow the steps below:

  1. Log into the FSW Portal
  2. Under the box "Apps for Employees" or "Apps for Students" select "Google Docs"
  3. Start a new blank document by selecting the "Blank" page with a blue plus symbol on it
    Google Docs initial page to create new documents or edit existing files.
  4. Within the new "Untitled document" select the "Tools" menu option
  5. Select the "Voice typing..." option from the menu or use the keyboard shortcut
    New untitled google document with the tools menu expanded showing available options
  6. A floating window with a microphone icon will appear and can be dragged to any area within the document window.
    Google document with the voice typing floating window shown
  7. Select the microphone icon, a browser alert will ask for permission to use the computer's microphone, select "Allow"
    Google Chrome browser alert to allow microphone use in docs
  8. Begin speaking toward or into the microphone and the speech will be typed into the document. Quality of transcription will depend on the environment.
  9. As the document is edited it will automatically be saved
  10. Select the text "Untitled document" to give the document a meaningful file name.

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Google Slides

FSW provides students, faculty, and staff with a free Google Slides account which contains a speech-to-text tool called "Voice type speaker notes...". To use this feature it is best to use the Google Chrome browser, the computer must have a microphone (built-in or plugged-in), and the browser needs permission granted to access the microphone. For further information on voice commands and set-up please consult the "Type with your voice" help document. Once the microphone is working follow the steps below:

  1. Log into the FSW Portal
  2. Under the box "Apps for Employees" or "Apps for Students" select "Google Docs"
  3. Select the three horizontal line icon, for the Main Menu, next to the Google Docs logo to change the app to "Slides"
    Google Docs initial page with main menu option highlighted to switch apps
  4. Start a new blank presentation by selecting the "Blank" slide with a yellow plus symbol on it
    Google Slides initial page to create new presentations or edit existing files.
  5. Within the new "Untitled presentation" select the "Tools" menu option
  6. Select the "Voice type speaker notes..." option from the menu or use the keyboard shortcut
    New untitled google presentation with the tools menu expanded showing available options
  7. A floating window with a microphone icon will appear and can be dragged to any area within the presentation window.
    Google presentation with the voice type speaker notes floating window shown
  8. Select the microphone icon, a browser alert will ask for permission to use the computer's microphone, select "Allow"
    Google Chrome browser alert to allow microphone use in slides
  9. Begin speaking toward or into the microphone and the speech will be typed within the speaker notes section below the current slide. Quality of transcription will depend on the environment.
  10. After each slide, select the red microphone within a red circle icon to pause the typing.
  11. Advance to the next slide and select the microphone icon again to continue speaker notes.
  12. As the presentation is edited it will automatically be saved
  13. Select the text "Untitled presentation" to give the presentation a meaningful file name.

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Locating Captioned Content

Numerous online video providers have a mechanism to automatically generate captions (Kaltura, YouTube, and more...) and allow for content hosted on their site to be embedded within courses. Because most captions are auto-generated they may be inaccurate, always check the captions against what is spoken. Below are only two examples that provide captioned content easily accessible to embed within the Canvas platform.

  • YouTube makes locating openly licensed Subtitled and Closed Captioned content easy through search filters. The videos are primarily auto-captioned, but YouTube offers an easy subtitle editor for users to correct their captions.
    YouTube search of accessibility with filters expanded with focus on Subtitles/CC and Creative Commons options
    1. Search for the topic you would like within your course
    2. Above the "results list," select the "Filter" icon
    3. Select "Subtitles/CC"
      • The "Filters" screen will retract and the results list will update, to further drill-down your results continue to select the "Filter" option.
  • The FSW Libraries offer streaming video databases where video content is captioned. A librarian can help you choose which database to use for your courses. To access streaming video resources such as feature films, documentaries, and other academic clips follow the steps below:
  1. Visit the FSW Libraries Homepage
  2. Locate the "Articles in Databases" link above the search tool
  3. Log-in using your College ID number and PIN
  4. Within the list of subjects locate "Streaming Video" and select the plus symbol to expand it.The subject streaming videos expanded to show many databases

NOTE:

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