Captions and YouTube and what you need to know…
It’s good practice to make sure that any video you post on YouTube be captioned. Here are some useful tips to make sure you’re making your video content as accessible as possible.
For Closed Captioning of Videos
All videos should have closed captioning. YouTube has a feature that will automatically caption videos less than 10 minutes. To increase accuracy of the YouTube machine translation, your video will need to have very clear-spoken words and little background noise.
Though YouTube has the ability to create captions based on your audio file, it’s best if you have a written transcript already (get someone to transcribe it (e.g., intern, student, etc.).
To create a transcript, you can also use a dictation tool like the following:
- On a Mac (Mountain Lion): Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Dictation (On). Then open up any typing program (TextEdit, Word, Notes, Stickies, etc.) and:
- Play the video, pause, speak what you hear, and repeat
- Or, if the speaking parts of the video are very clear, play it loud enough for the Dictation to pick up the voice.
Other applications you can use: Dragon (for desktop or the smartphone app)
After you upload your video to YouTube, make your video “unlisted” at first and turn off the machine translation version that is automatically created. Then upload your text transcript. Let YouTube sync it up. Then you can review and edit the captioning to ensure caption timing matches the video. Once your YouTube video has captions, you may wish to download the captions and use an editor to tidy them up.
You can use the YouTube captioning features even if you are not going to post your video to YouTube. Simply keep your video “unlisted” or “private” and just download the video file with the captioning. Depending on what you use on your own site for embedding video (e.g., JW Media Player), you may need to find an online converter to convert the YouTube SBT format to DXFP or other format that your video player supports.
For Creating or Editing Captions
If you wish to create captions for your video from scratch, or you would like to edit your existing YouTube captions, there are a number of free tools that can help:
- Overstream: a popular web-based captioning tool, with a related YouTube tutorial.
- CaptionTube: a web-based captioning tool designed specifically for YouTube.
- Amara – A free captioning tool that links directly to your YouTube videos.
- MAGpie: a free Windows application from the National Center for Accessible Media.
A tutorial for creating captions can be found on YouTube. Other tutorials on using Overstream and CaptionTube can be found at their respective websites. Resources for MAGpie are available at WebAIM.org.
For Uploading Captions
To upload a caption file to your video:
- Sign into your YouTube account.
- In the Captions and Subtitles pane, select the ‘Add captions’ option.
- Select the ‘browse’ option and locate the captioned file.
- Select ‘Upload File’.
Please note that captions should also capture important information and sounds in the video that may not typically be captioned, such as the sound of audience clapping, a phone app using voiceover, etc.