Sign In / Sign Out
Navigation for Entire University
- ASU Home
- My ASU
- Colleges and Schools
- Map and Locations
Captions are synchronized transcriptions of audio content, displayed as an additional track on a video. At ASU, all online video must be captioned.
Captions are critical for many people--users who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, people in noisy (or quiet) environments, individuals with cognitive impairments that make processing auditory information difficult, and others.
In a 2016 study by Oregon State and 3PlayMedia of 2,124 college and university students, 71% of students without hearing difficulties said they use captions at least some of the time, primarily to aid learning.
To view captions while watching a video, users click the closed caption icon.
We strongly recommend that ASU site owners and content editors host their video on YouTube. YouTube uses voice recognition technology to automatically add captions to most videos uploaded to its site. It's much easier to edit the captions supplied by YouTube than to create new captions from scratch.
To add a video to YouTube:
Because voice recognition software isn't perfect, auto-generated captions are frequently inaccurate and should be reviewed and edited. A few hours or so after uploading your video, follow these instructions to review and edit the captions in your YouTube Account Manager.
If your videos must be hosted on another platform such as Vimeo, you can still use YouTube to create the captions. Temporarily upload your video to YouTube, then create and edit captions as suggested above. When you’ve finished editing the YouTube captions, you will download the caption.srt file:
If your Canvas course or website videos are hosted in MediaAMP, you can auto-generate captions for them. See more on accessibility in Canvas.
If you'd like to use a library owned/licensed video in class or on Canvas but it is not yet captioned, add it to your Library Reading List and the library will automatically caption it. Your Library Reading List tool is in Canvas, or you can submit a Reserve Request Form and the library will activate the tool in Canvas and add the item for you.
When captioning video, the goal is to convey the meaning and intention of the audio material, including sound effects, dialogue, accents, grammatical errors, pauses, music, etc.
For an excellent in-depth guide to writing captions, see the BBC's Subtitle Guidelines.
If you don't have the time or resources to add captions to video yourself, there are many paid captioning services available. One of the best and least expensive is Rev. For $1 per minute, they will caption any video, usually in 24 hours. In some cases, it may make sense to take advantage of a paid service like Rev.
At this time few video players support transcripts and audio descriptions, and they are not required for video on ASU web sites (only captions are required). However, as the technology catches up in the next few years, expect to see the ASU guidelines requiring either transcriptions and/or audio descriptions as well.
A transcript is a text version of the dialog in a video or audio recording. Transcriptions are helpful for users who are deaf, who speak English as a second language, or who are in a quiet (or loud) environment that precludes listening to the audio track. Like captions, transcripts typically are time-synced with the recording; unlike captions, they are displayed as a text document directly under the video. (Note: A transcript file can be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo/Amara to be used to create captioning.)
An audio description is an additional narration track that provides a textual description of the action, characters and other visual content in a video, primarily for users who are blind or visually impaired. Typically, the audio description track is displayed during pauses in the dialog--that is, in between captions. This trailer from the film Frozen is a good example of audio descriptions.