Captioning Videos Does Matter

[Jen Rohrig]( and I have something in common. We just avoid videos online because we know the chances of them having captions are slim.
The captions on a recent TV show were muddled (cut off sentences, combined words for non-sensical phrases), so I went online to see if I could view the episode online as a couple of networks have captioned their online episodes. Nope. I wasn’t disappointed because I already had low expectations. Then I saw Veronica Mars was trending on Twitter. Turned out the network released all of Season 1 episodes online. No captions. No surprise.
I agree with her following thoughts, “I’m not convinced that videos on YouTube should include compulsory captions. Usually these are made by fans or other individuals who probably don’t have the knowledge or money to caption their home-made videos. Captioning online videos is neither cheap nor easy and I’m not convinced it’s appropriate to make captioning mandatory for personal, home-made videos. On the other hand, making the tools available and suggesting the addition of captions is a different story…”
It’s getting easier. I’ve [captioned all of my own videos]( Of course, the videos don’t last more than a couple of minutes.
This [blog entry with a video]( from a graduation at Galluadet University shows how captions make a difference. I felt exactly like those kids did when I finally finished college at American University.


  1. I don’t believe that the statement “Captioning online videos is neither cheap nor easy”.
    It’s really cheap, and really easy – I do it for free.
    It does take some time if you don’t have a transcript.
    A ten minute video does take a long time to caption, if you don’t have a transcript. But if you are creating ten minute video, without a transcript, your content may not be worth captioning.
    That’s what bugs me about professional videos not being captioned. If you have someone spending hours in a room editing and doing post production, the additional time spent adding captions is not so significant – plus you could probably get an intern to do it.
    In short, if your words are worth hearing, you should caption them.

    • Meryl on September 12, 2009 at 8:38 am
    • Reply

    Agreed, Bill. I do mine for free and it doesn’t take long. The reason I didn’t counter that statement is that it’s different when you have a 30 to 60 minute video. That takes more time — but of course, I haven’t seen the professional captioning tools. Maybe they don’t take as long as I think.
    It takes me a little time between typing the captions and aligning them at the right time on the video — and that’s just for a 5 min video… MAX.

  2. Great video on the topic from DeafTechNYC. He talks about HR 3101 and its three points.

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