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Accessibility: Closed Caption This

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

I’ve mentioned how important alternative text is for images on our websites for the blind, but on the reverse side, how well do we understand the picture we see when we cannot hear it?

I’m guilty of listening to music probably at higher than appropriate levels, and I find myself sitting in front of my TV more often with the closed captioning on. I still listen to the voices, but I cannot seem to understand what they are saying, whether it is because they talk too fast or have a strong dialect. Everyone benefits from closed captioning, whether you are at the bar watching the TV on mute or if you are deaf (or partially deaf like me).

Tarleton uses YouTube to post most of the videos we use on our website. YouTube allows us to provide closed captioning. This service has the added benefit of assisting even foreign language users to receive a translation of the script in their own language.

Closed captioning videos, despite the rumors, is not all that hard. The biggest hurdle you have to go through is first having the transcript. Not all of us like to talk based on a script, so it often means typing the transcript up in Word while listening to the video after you’ve posted it to YouTube.

Transcription Tips

  • If different people are talking, type their names/identities in uppercase and a colon, preceded by double arrows.
    • >> Karole:
    • >> Woman:
  • If music/lyrics are playing or another important sound is occurring, place it in square brackets.
    • [poorly playing “Heart and Soul” on the piano]
    • [engine starting]

Again, you can type this in Word or another favorite word processor. The main reason is to first get your grammar and spelling out of the way. Once you are done with the transcript, it is time to upload it to the video you’ve already added to YouTube.

Adding Closed Captioning to YouTube Videos

  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.


Technical / Legal Stuff

  • TAC §206.70 (b) - Equivalent Alternatives for Multimedia: Based on a request for accommodation of a webcast of a live/real time open meeting (Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551) or training and informational video productions which support the institution of higher education's mission, each institution of higher education must consider alternative forms of accommodation. Refer to §206.1 of this chapter for definitions for Alternate Formats and Alternate Methods.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 makes this a little easier to understand. I mention three guidelines on How to Be Accessible with Cascade Server: