Web Accessibility - Captioning Support


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All new videos created should include captions or a transcript in compliance with MSUs web accessibility policy (link), and the choice to use captions or transcripts is dependant on your specific content. There are many benefits to providing one or both of these options, and our recommendation is to provide both in order to provide choice to the person watching your video content.

By providing transcripts, captions, or both alongside a video, you will be creating a fully accessible piece of media. In this document we will discuss what kind of alternative to audio will fit your needs best, discuss resource options, and provide links to assist you further.

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Captions, Transcript, or Both?

In order to make your video as accessible as possible, providing both captions and transcripts is the recommended approach, but in some cases resource limitations may force you to choose one option. The first step in providing accessible video content is to decide what type of alternative will fit best with the type of video you are working with.

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Why Caption

Captions are text that are synchronized with the media and play simultaneously with the video file.

The addition of captions will help provide access to your video for the hearing impaired, those who may not speak the language presented as a first language, or those without access to audio capabilities. Providing captions will also create greater visibility in search engines, and help improve student comprehension of video material. Adding captions should inform the viewer of what is being said, who is speaking, and any relevant sound effects will make your video fully understandable without audio.

Generally caption files are delivered as SRT or DFXP files, which can be attached to the video file in order for them to work with the video player. For more information on attaching caption files, check out this resource on webaccess.msu.edu (link).

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Captioning Options

When you decide to begin the captioning process, there are two options for you to choose from. There is either the option to do the captioning yourself, or to to hire and pay a third party. Both options come with benefits and limitations. The biggest factors are time, and cost.

Creating Your Own Captions

The option of creating your own captions can be thought of as time consuming, but there are many resources available for free online to assist in any caption process. There are options such as using Youtube, Camtasia, and Machine Captions in Kaltura MediaSpace. Some benefits of creating your own captions are that it is free to low cost, there are many tools available to use online, doing it yourself will guarantee the content is accurate and expresses your original focus.

For more detailed information on creating your own captions, refer to the Creating Your Own Captions (link) page on webaccess.msu.edu

Hiring A Third Party

The alternative option to creating your own captions is to hire out to a company that specifically creates video caption files. This is the most convenient option in terms of time, but does come with a cost.Generally captioning rates range from $1.00 to $4.50 per minute of video depending on the captioning service that you choose.

To find out more information about recommended captioning vendors, refer to the Hiring a Third Party Captioning Service (link) page on webaccess.msu.edu.

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Why Transcripts?

A transcript is a document that includes no time information associated with it, and is a stand alone document that can be used on its own to represent the content that one could find in a video. The transcript is different than captions because it enables viewers to read it as an alternative and fully understand what they would be seeing and hearing in the video if they were to watch and listen to it. Some students simply prefer to read a transcript as an alternative to video, but transcripts are also important for people who have visual impairments and use a screen reader in order to engage with digital content.

You will know that a transcript is an appropriate alternative to video when the viewer can read the transcript or watch the video and achieve the same level of comprehension as someone who views the video.

Generally transcript files are delivered as Word or PDF files.

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Other Helpful Resources

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Article ID: 1443
Mon 4/24/23 1:09 PM
Thu 11/2/23 12:23 PM

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Digital accessibility is the practice of designing and providing equitable user experiences so that individuals with disabilities are able to independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same timeframe as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use.