Accessibility Tip of the Week: Additional benefits of captioning videos

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the additional benefits of captioning video content. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Note: Robert Hardy is offering a Zoom training this Wednesday, May 13, about captioning videos (see information at end of this post).

Providing accurate captions is a necessary step in making most video content accessible. Like other elements of accessible design though, the benefits of captioning videos extend beyond just accessibility.

Captions within YouTube are translatable into dozens of languages using YouTube’s automatic translation tool. While not imperfect, these automatic translations provide greater access to our content. To enable translations, users can turn on the captions, go to settings, select the captions menu and then select Auto-translate.

YouTube Captions menu - Auto-translate is selected

Captioned videos are also easier for users to find. Google regularly crawls online content for their search results. Traditionally, video content has been very challenging for search engines to parse. By providing captions, Google is able to more accurately index the content, ensuring it shows up in users’ search results.

Captioned videos are also easier to search within. Rather than watch an entire video, users can use the transcript function within YouTube to skim through a video. To open the transcript tool, open the three-dot menu and select Open Transcript. This is particularly helpful when watching step by step guides.

YouTube video menu - Open transcript is selected

Finally, captions themselves are beneficial to everyone. Say, for instance, that you are staying in your home for several weeks with your entire family. Captions enable you, and all of your family members, to watch videos muted. In fact, up to 85% of videos watched on platforms such as Facebook are watched without sound.

If you are interested in posting accessible video content and creating captions using YouTube, you can attend this Wednesday’s (May 13, 2020) Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions workshop:

  • Meeting link
  • Time: 1-2 pm
  • Meeting ID: 913 4627 2957
  • Password: 012344

Thank you for your work in captioning videos and ensuring they are accessible! If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.