Design Matters: Capture Your Audio, Caption Your Video

The Deaf Community fought a long and difficult battle to get captioning where it is today on televised programming. Televisions are designed with decoders so that closed captions are available by making a simple adjustment with your remote control. The broadcast industry and the television industry have risen to the challenge and, as a result, we have come to expect captioned programming. As I write this entry, in fact, I’m sitting in a noisy restaurant but I’m able to follow the news on the television because it is captioned. We’ve come a long way!

Marlee Matlin testifying at FCC Hearing

Or have we? When we look at the explosion of video posted on the Internet we realize that we, as a society, have not yet made a paradigm shift. Even though laws and policies are in place that require that Web content be made accessible, the percentage of videos posted on the Web that are captioned is decidedly small. The question that hangs out there is whether we value civil rights and inclusion of all members of our society. If our answer to this question is “yes,” then we will take the time to caption the videos we post to the Web.

And Captioning Online Videos Has Just Gotten Easier

For those who are using YouTube to post online videos, the technology has improved tremendously. If you simply create a transcript of the video you post and upload that transcript, the voice recognition engine will put the timings in for you.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Create your video.
  • Create a transcript of your video and save it as a Rich Text Format file.
  • Upload your video to YouTube.
  • Go to the “My Videos” section of your YouTube account.
  • Find the video you just uploaded.
  • Select the “Captions” button.
  • Select the “Add New Captions or Transcript” button.
  • Browse to your transcript file.
  • Select “Transcript file” with the radio buttons.
  • Select “Upload file” button.

Resources on Captioning and Accessibility of Online Videos

Automatic Captions in YouTube (Video): This video highlights the automatic captioning features available in YouTube. Author note: We do not recommend relying on the transcript creation tools just yet. While voice recognition software has improve dramatically, users deserve more accurate text versions of the audio.

Captioning YouTube Video and Providing Accessible Controls: This is a wonderful comprehensive tutorial created by the Web Accessibility Center at the Ohio State University. You will find everything there is to know about making sure the video you create and post online is accessible.

Marlee Matlin’s Remarks at FCC Hearing on Broadband Access (Video): The FCC held this field hearing at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. on November 6, 2009 as part of its effort to gather information from experts and consumers for the development of a National Broadband Plan. Among those on the first panel was Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is the spokesperson for the National Association of the Deaf for accessible broadband services and Internet media.

YouTube Help Center: Adding/Editing Captions: Step by step tutorial for captioning videos in YouTube.

Oh, and, by the way, these videos are captioned!

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