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Caption Your Videos

  • Accessibility

Last modified: August 12, 2022

Captioning videos makes your content easier to access for all students.

Captioning Options

ADA best practice for captions is 99% accuracy. Captions must relay the speaker’s exact words with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar with 99% accuracy. Paraphrasing does not count as ADA compliant. So, what tools do we have for creating captions for videos?

Edited Machine-captioning

UAS does not have professional captioning available. We have access to several tools which perform machine-captioning. However, machine-captioning (Zoom, Screencast-o-matic, VoiceThread) is not ADA compliant. Machine-captioned videos have little punctuation and frequent incorrect words that interfere with the learner's understanding.  These bad transcripts do at least give us something to work with though. 

This option means you record in one of the tools we have that machine-captions and then you edit the text to be accurate. It is time-consuming and tedious, but a good transcript can be produced this way.


If you are making short instructional videos to be shared with your students, consider making a script to use in filming. Practice the script a couple of times so that you can read it naturally. If you have trouble reading the script and performing the actions of the video at the same time, you can record the actions first and then add the script in a voiceover later. You can also record small sections of the video and edit them together afterwards to make it easier to stick to the script. You can edit out mistakes later. When you're done, rewatch the video to make sure that your words match up with the script, edit as needed, then upload the script with the video on YouTube to create captions.

Type the Captions into YouTube

You can also type the captions into YouTube as they are spoken in the video. Unless you are a superhuman typist, I don't recommend this method except in the case of very short videos.

Characteristics of Good Captions

Below are some guidelines to consider when creating captions.

  • Captions should appear on-screen long enough to be read.
  • It is preferable to limit on-screen captions to no more than two lines.
  • Captions should be as synchronized as possible with spoken words.
  • Speakers should be identified when more than one person is on-screen or when the speaker is not visible.
  • Punctuation should be used to clarify meaning.
  • Spelling should be correct throughout the production.
  • Sound effects should be written in the caption when they add to understanding.
  • All actual words are captioned, regardless of language or dialect. (If a hearing person can hear it, it should be available to the non-hearing person as well for true equity to be present)
  • Use of slang and accent is preserved and identified. (Again, you want the experience for the non-hearing person to be as close as possible to the that of the hearing person)