Closed Caption logo

Many accessibility efforts to make information more accessible to students with disabilities provide benefits to much larger body of students. Calling out these benefits can lead to a decision for accessibility in spite of the benefits provided to ones with disabilities, and Captioning (sometimes called “subtitles”) is a great example of it. Captioning can be very beneficial to those learning English as a second language and can help students with reading and literacy problems.

Audio Files

For audio files, provide transcripts, which can be on the screen or as a downloadable attachment but make sure to provide a comparable experience to that of listening to the content. There are software that can assist you with the process of transcribing recorded oTranscribe (free) and SpeakerText (free).

Youtube (Your own videos)

Google/Youtube has its “auto caption” feature for new YouTube uploads by which text-to-speech software (of the type used by Google Voice) will attempt to automatically generate captions from a video’s audio-track. (note that it usually takes a couple days for Youtube to generate the auto-caption. The “CC” sign will show up under your video when it’s available).

The auto-caption generator isn’t always accurate, but Youtube allows you to make corrections. Once the Closed Captions is generated by Youtube, follow the steps below to reivew/correct it:

Screenhots of Youtube

  1. login to your account,
  2. go to your video, and click on the “CC” sign under your video
  3. click on English (Automatic)
  4. review the captions, and if you see any error, click on the Edit button to correct it.

Check YouTube help for more about the subtitle features.

Youtube (Public videos)

If you are sharing a youtube clip that is not uploaded by yourself (and the video isn’t accompanied by an adequate Closed Captions), you will need to use a third party tool. CaptionsForYouTube offers a captions plugin that you can use to caption public YouTube videos. The captions plugin allows you to embed public YouTube videos on your personal website( or Blackboard), where you can then add captions without needing to republish the video (which is the biggest copyright worry). Create an account with 3Play Media to get started, then follow the instructions below to learn how to add the captions plugin.

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Go to Upload, then select the From Links tab.
  3. Copy and paste the URL of the Youtube video you want to caption.
  4. You’ll be notified when your captions and transcripts are ready.
MovieCaptioner (desktop software)

MovieCaptioner is a captioning program for Mac OS X and Windows that streamlines the task of captioning video content by looping one short section of a video at a time. In addition to simplifying the captioning process, MovieCaptioner also has the ability to export captioned videos as QuickTime movies, as well as standalone caption files in a variety of formats.

Currently, there is one workstation (PC) on campus at the Access-Ability Services that has MovieCaptioner installed and available for use.

CUNY Media Accessibility Project

Media Accessibility Project is a special project funded by the CUNY Council on Student Disability Issues (COSDI) to provide audio and video captioning services as well as transcripts of a/v materials. As the project is running on a limited resources, please consider trying the options above first. Their turnaround time depends on the length of your material and the project’s workload. They can be reached at 718.281.5104.

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