Loyola University Maryland

Accessibility at Loyola

Video Captions, Transcripts, and Formats

Captions (for video) or a transcript (for audio) should be included with all multimedia content produced by the University. Captions and transcripts benefit not only those who cannot hear the sound, but also non-native English speakers, people who don't have speakers on their computer, people listening to a video in a noisy room, or people who learn better by reading and listening to the content. 

What are captions and subtitles? 

Captions

  • Display all audio information including sound effects or music 
  • Identify speakers 
  • Are displayed in the same language as the audio 
  • Can be either “closed” (able to be turned on or off by the user) or “open” (on all the time) 

Subtitles

  • Display only spoken content 
  • Are often (but not always) in a language other than the language of the audio 
  • Can be turned on or off by the user

Who benefits from captioning and/or transcripts?

Captions are necessary for accessibility and usability as they provide access to a wider audience, including users:

  • learning another language or those whose native language is not that of the audio content (i.e. international students)
  • with learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments
  • who learn by taking in information in multiple ways
  • in quiet environments where audio output is undesirable (i.e. libraries)
  • in noisy environments where audio may be difficult to hear or understand (i.e. student unions).
  • Users whose equipment does not support audio output or who simply do not have an audio output device available — headphones
  • users who are looking for information contained in the transcript; search engines can find info in transcripts, but not in a video or audio file

Who does the captioning?  

Choose to caption yourself

You can submit a captioning request through our captioning request form. Disability Support Services (DSS) is available to help if a person with a disability has a specific need for captioning. They are also available to consult with you about your options. 

Choose already captioned content

As a member of the university, the first step would be to check to see if the video is closed captioned. If this is a streamed video look for the closed captioned symbol typically presented in the bottom right of the screen.

Since providing captioning or transcripts can be time consuming and expensive, when possible, individuals should try to post video that is already captioned. To find captioned videos on YouTube or Google see Searching for Captioned Media. To request captioning, please email captioning@loyola.edu. The LND Library has a Research Guide on captioning on library videos.

Adapted from https://accessibility.umn.edu/core-skills/video-captions-transcripts

Video Formats

The format of your video and the tools you use to play video matter. Consistency is important - nobody wants to try to use three different tools for three different videos. Consider using YouTube since it allows for easy captioning.

Why should you pay attention to the format of your video?

There are many types of video formats. Some are more accessible than others. Some allow for captions and keyboard navigation while others do not. Like with any media, choose the type of format that will be the most accessible to all of your users.

How do you do this?

Video formats are constantly changing. The video format you choose should let the user make the video bigger without losing quality, and provide good keyboard navigation and transcripts.

Using YouTube, creators can "opt in" to the HTML5 version via http://youtube.com/html5. It should be noted that not every video on YouTube has been converted to be playable in the HTML5 player, though it does seem like newly uploaded videos are automatically encoded in formats that can use the HTML5 player. The buttons in the HTML5 player report state properly in a screen reader and it is possible to use the slider controls for scrubbing through a video and adjusting volume.

Many browsers support both the video element in HTML5 and either the H.264 video codec or the WebM format. These include:

Note: All of your videos should have captions - but the YouTube Auto Caption feature is insufficient. You will need to edit your auto captions or add in your own transcript.