Why Caption?

Multimedia Hub


You are here

Benefits the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

People who are deaf or hard of hearing are not able to directly access auditory information. Captioning provides a lifeline by displaying audio content on screen as synchronized text.

A #captionTHIS day video demonstrates the need for captioning.

Transcript of the video is available.

Captions are Good Universal Design

Captions are beneficial to a wide variety of people and situations. They:

  • improve comprehension.
  • can be read by people who benefit from seeing and hearing words together such as people with certain learning disabilities, or visual learners, or English language learners.
  • provide access where sound isn't allowed, in situations, users may not be able to access audio on their computers, such as labs without speakers.
  • compensate for noisy backgrounds or for poor audio quality.
  • clarify when the language is heavily accented.
  • make words clearer when a person is unfamiliar with the subject terminology.
  • are used by couples to keep peace in the bedroom (when one wants to roll over to sleep and the other wants to continue watching a video.)
  • enable multitasking i.e., watching a video while answering the phone.
  • are searchable, allowing people to search media files for a topic of interest.

Complies with University Policy

Effective January 1, 2014, the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG), level AA, serve as the Web accessibility standard for the University of Minnesota. WCAG 2.0 Guidelines are categorized into 3 levels of conformance: A (lowest), AA (mid range), and AAA (highest). By conforming to AA, Web content meets both the A and AA conformance levels. AA is the University of Minnesota Standard. If a Web site conforms to Level AA, it means that it will be accessible for most people, under most circumstances.

To comply with the University of Minnesota standard:

All prerecorded audio-video content must have captions. This is Guideline 1.2.2:

"Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)"

All live audio-video content must have captions. This is Guideline is 1.2.4:

"Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media. (Level AA)"

UMD Policy on Captioning of Video states that captioning of online video is required in the following situations:

  • Uncaptioned videos create a barrier to instructional material for a student who has a disability (documented with Disability Resources) which would be accommodated by captioning.
  • The video is being shared in an unrestricted way.

An example of an "unrestricted way" is posting a video to the open web.