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All media resources used in SLCC programs and activities—whether they are instructional, informational, marketing, or promotional—must be accessible.

What is Captioning?

Captioning is text that displays on the screen during a video. Open Captioning (OC) and Closed Captioning (CC) are both types of captions that provide a text-based resource for videos with audio that correspond with the timing of what is said/heard. While captioning is necessary for people with hearing impairments, Deaf and people who are deaf (difference between Deaf people and people who are deaf), it is a tenet of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that benefits all learners.

Captions that are provided for hearing impaired individuals, Deaf, or people who are deaf must follow the guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, captions and transcripts must be 99% accurate to ensure understanding for the individual.

How does Captioning work?

There are many ways that a video can be captioned. A person who works for a transcription company will listen to a video and transcribe the audio to text, then create a caption file that syncs with the video to maintain consistency with timing of what is said. Another way is through software solutions such as or Rev, which uses software to transcribe speech and sound to text. This solution is commonly preferred because it is automated and doesn’t require a person to spend time listening and watching videos to transcribe the content. The main drawback with this solution is that the software makes many mistakes when attempting to transcribe a person’s speech, especially if the person has a unique dialect or if multiple languages are used. The captions provided by this software are often inaccurate enough to not comply with the ADA guidelines, and therefore do not accurately portray the material enough to students who are protected under the ADA.

The main difference between these two types of captions is that Open Captioning is added to the video file directly, therefore they cannot be turned off or removed. Closed Captioning is added to the video separately and can be separated from the video as an independent file or be turned off.

Proactive captioning and reactive captioning differ in how they are addressed.

Proactive captioning is a video or set of videos that do not need to be captioned for a student with disabilities but would benefit from being captioned for any number of reasons. The main contact for proactive captioning is the Universal Access Coordinator, James Farquharson ( Requests of this type tend to have a longer turnaround because there is not an overwhelming need for captions to provide access to a student that would otherwise not be able to access the material.

Reactive captioning is captions that are necessary for students to access material because they otherwise are not able to through other mediums. This includes the students who are supported by Accessibility and Disability Services and are the result of an approved accommodation. These videos are captioned quickly and accurately (at least 99% to comply with ADA guidelines) to provide access to the student as fast as possible. The main contact for this type of request is ADS Captioning.

Yes! Captioning can either be done manually by you, or you can use software like and Rev. If you choose to go the software route, be sure to edit and revise the transcript to ensure it is ADA compliant.

A free resource for software assisted captioning is available through Kaltura. You can submit a request for Machine captioning through the Kaltura Management Console. This process can take anywhere from a day to a week depending on video length, density of information, and content. Kaltura guarantees a minimum of 80% accuracy for their Machine captioning, so you may need to edit the transcript to make sure it is ADA compliant.

The captioning process can be arduous. However, we have awesome supports at the college to make sure captioning is done quickly and efficiently., or Kayleen Mangum ( at the ADS can field any questions you may have about the process.

Long story short, the ADS can handle many videos at once, but the amount of videos can increase the turn-around time. Therefore, if you have a long list of videos to caption, it is better to compile them ahead of time to quickly get the list of videos over to the ADS so the captioning process can begin as soon as possible. If you ever feel overwhelmed about getting your videos captioned, do not hesitate to reach out to ADS Captioning for guidance/additional help. Our goal is to provide access to the students as quickly and accurately as possible and we will do whatever we can to achieve that goal. We want to avoid causing extra work for faculty in this process so that everyone benefits from the presence of captions.

The standards used for video captioning are the US Access Board's Video and Multimedia standards for the provision of captions and audio descriptions and the DCMP Captioning Key guidelines for the captions themselves.

The basic SLCC standards for media include:

  • closed captioning: synchronized humanly perfected verbatim transcripts (not captions provide directly from voice recognition processes)
  • audio descriptions

Captions should:

  • Contain two lines of text, with around 32 characters per line of sans serif font.
  • Show no less than 2 seconds and aim at a rate of about 120-130 words per minute presentation rate.
  • Identify speaker names or identifiers followed by a colon and the dialogue - John: What do you mean?
  • Indicate meaningful silences - Mother: Where have you been? Son: (silence)
  • Indicate sounds in brackets - [horns honking], [wind whistling], [music], [awkward silence], [people shouting over each other]
  • Indicate unknown sounds or words with several question marks - John: I'm going to the ???
  • Use bold, italic or underline features - "That was REALLY cool!", "WHAT?"
  • Use multiple parenthesis to indicate timid or whispered words - Girl: (((I'm scared)))
  • Use "..." when the dialogue is muffled or too low to discern - "I didn’t mean to hurt him, I …………… I was defending myself."
  • Accurately transcribe language so viewers understand language register - "I told Johnny I was gonna get him for beatin' me in the race today. Cuz I was mad. I wanted to win…"
For real-time event captioning at SLCC, please fill out the ASL Interpreting/Captioning request form.