All non-textual content require alternative text in order to aid those who cannot see or hear the media. Alternative text also assists in SEO ranking by including important keywords in your video content. Examples of video content that need alternative text include, but is not limited to,

  • live / recorded broadcasts
  • vodcasts / videocasts
  • webinars, training and other multimedia presentations
  • video in general

Alternative text for video content comes in the form of closed captioning (CC) which is a transcript synchronized with the imagery shown in the video presentation. That is, the transcript is cut into pieces based on start and end times for that piece of the transcript.

Closed captioning is not subtitles. Subtitles are displayed on the video and cannot be turned off. Subtitles aid all audience members, not just the deaf and hard of hearing, in providing a translation of dialog that the audience is not typically expected to understand upon hearing:

  • English speaking audience getting a translation of Spanish dialog
  • General audience getting a translation of alien / fictional dialog

Depending on time and budgetary resources, you may either do the closed captioning yourself (e.g. your staff, interns, or volunteers) or hire a transcription service to transcribe and synchronize the audio on your video for you. Contact Web Services for assistance and approved transcription service.

Create your own closed captions

Web Services can link to videos hosted on Vimeo or YouTube. While the steps may be slightly different (and change as they upgrade their service), they have their own support documentation to assist you. The following steps are for adding closed captions on YouTube, which starts with your transcription of the audio:

  1. Save your Word document as a text (.txt) file. You can copy and paste it into an application like Notepad, if you prefer.
  2. In the YouTube Video Manager, Edit your video.
  3. Select the tab at the top for Captions.
  4. Click on the Add captions button.
  5. Close to the bottom, near the Sync button, click on Upload transcript.
  6. Select the text (.txt) file and then click the Sync button.

This should process your transcript and synchronize the text with the video.

When it finishes processing, test the captions on the video and make adjustments as necessary on the text shown in the track.

Keep in mind, YouTube keeps changing the steps up a bit, but these are basically what you need to do any time you are adding closed captioning. If you need further assistance, contact Web Services.

If you want to post videos to Facebook, YouTube provide an easy way to add closed captions to Facebook.

Conducting a live broadcast

Basic requirements for an accessible live webinar, video conference, or other streamed broadcast:

  1. A transcriber with access to hear all audio during the broadcast (e.g. phone, video conferencing software, in-person)
  2. Video conferencing software or alternative solution that provide a minimum of two broadcast channels (can be on the same screen or separate windows):
    1. the live video broadcast
    2. the live transcription broadcast (there will be about 15 seconds of delay with the audio of the video broadcast)

Transcribers (paid or volunteer)

  • should have a typing speed of 225 wpm (words per minute) accurately (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation)
  • should be fluent in the language spoken (and provide spelling and meaning of jargon specific for the topic) as well as capable of understanding a variety of accents

You can provide your transcriber a script if you already have your statements prepared for the live broadcast.

Post-video conference, you should provide a cleaned-up version (some mistakes are expected during live captioning) of the transcription.

Technical issues do occur, such as slow internet connection, lost internet connection, or disconnect from the live transcription channel. Make best efforts to provide all transcription when these issues occur. Do audio and transcription checks with your audience. If they are only expected to last a short time, please pause the presentation, so all in attendance receive it at the same time. Otherwise, provide the content after the connection has been re-established.


Guides and How-To’s