Video & Audio

Just as you would add alt-text to an image, any video or audio recordings should provide a captions and/or a transcript of the auditory content. Users should also be able to easily start, stop, and pause the content.

Captioning video

For video content, you should provide captions of the audio for the benefit of those with hearing impairments. Captions can be either closed captions (where a user can turn them on and off) or open captions (where the text is embedded into the video and cannot be turned on or off). 

  • Captions should use proper grammar and punctuation.
  • Captions, unlike subtitles, should be in the same language as the spoken content.
  • Captions should be provided for any spoken content and any additional sound that is important to understanding the video. For example, if a door creaking causes a character to look up, the door creak should be captioned.

Automatic captioning on YouTube

YouTube can use speech recognition technology to automatically create captions for your videos. Please remember that the automatic captions are generated by algorithms, so the quality and accuracy of the captions may vary. They may incorrectly caption the spoken content due to mispronunciation, accents, dialects, or background noise. You should always review the automatic captions to check for accuracy.

Learn how to review or edit automatic captions »

Manually adding your own closed captions in YouTube

Closed captions allow you to share your videos with a larger audience, including deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers and viewers who speak another language. If you already have captions, get help editing or removing existing captions.  There are four ways to add closed captions to your YouTube videos:

  • Uploading a file: The file needs to contain the text of what is said in the video and timestamps for when each line of text should be displayed.
  • Auto-sync: You can create closed captions by entering them in as you watch the video.
  • Type manually: You can choose to type or paste a transcript of your video captions. With this option, your subtitle timings will be set automatically.
  • Auto-translate: YouTube can use speech recognition technology to automatically create captions for your videos. If automatic captions are available, they’ll automatically be published on the video.

Learn how to add closed captions »

Video & audio transcripts

Transcripts are like captions, but are outside of the video or audio file. Typically, they are linked or displayed alongside the audio or video file. WashU websites should include both captioning and a transcript along with audio or video media.

Transcripts for audio files can be produced using the same methods as captioning – either through a professional vendor or with AI tools and manual editing. Transcripts should be accurate and include proper punctuation, speaker identification, and the identification of sounds other than speech.

Creating video and audio transcripts from YouTube

When transcribing the YouTube videos on your website, how you do so will depend on if you have your own YouTube channel and uploaded the video yourself or if someone else uploaded the video and the video is set to ‘public’.

If you are hosting your videos with other services such as Vimeo, check with your individual service on how to create your transcripts.

Learn how to transcribe YouTube videos »

How to add caption while uploading and editing your videos.

Live captioning and transcription in Zoom

Zoom now offers a Live Transcription Service for meetings. Live transcripts allow participants to see automatically generated captions and transcriptions of spoken audio in real-time during a meeting or webinar.

Learn how to use live captioning & transcription in Zoom »

Reference: 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded), 1.2.2: Captions (Pre-recorded)