1.2.2 Captions (pre-recorded)

This is one that sounds quite scary but is actually quite easy to achieve. The guideline is: 

Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronised media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labelled as such.

What does it mean?

If you produce a video that has audio in it... which is most videos, you need to make sure that captions are available for people who have a hearing impairment... or a sleeping baby... or a grumpy husband... or...

This is where people often forget, it's not just disabled people who find these features useful. Captions or subtitles are useful for all kinds of reasons. I often put the TV on mute if my husband is on the phone. I turn on subtitles and I can still watch my programme and he can focus on his call. I think many adaptations are like that, which is where universal design becomes such a beautiful concept.

How do I do it?

Most people who create videos in a non-professional context, use YouTube. When you upload a video to YouTube, you can set it to automatically generate captions. It takes quite a long time, so you have to be patient. Upload your video... that takes time. Then it processes... more time. Then it will generate subtitles... more time. When they are ready though, you need to go in and check them.

What am I checking for?

YouTube does its best but let's face it, sometimes, the words come out muffled, sometimes our accent makes it sound like we said something else. So firstly, check that the words in the subtitles actually reflect what is said in the video. The one thing YouTube doesn't do, is punctuate your captions. I think this is quite bad, as it implies that deaf people aren't worth proper punctuation or don't care or aren't intelligent enough to notice. However you look at that, it makes me a bit angry. So please go through and punctuate it.

Screenshot of the pop-up window in YouTube that lets you edit your captions

To edit your captions, go to your videos in YouTube Studio and in the menu on the left, scroll down to subtitles. Next to each video, it shows how many languages your subtitles are in. Find the English (automatic) ones and click Duplicate and Edit. This opens a pop-up window, where you can edit your subtitles. When you've finished, click Publish (top right) and they should be ready to watch.

Microsoft Stream

If you've got a Microsoft 365 account - probably a work account - you may have Stream. I think Stream does this so much better than YouTube! Firstly, it punctuates the captions, and generally does a more accurate job. 

Secondly, and this only matters if you need to download your subtitle file to use somewhere else (like I do in my eLearning products) it produces nicely formatted 2-line format and a .vtt file, which is sometimes the only one that is accepted, depending on what software you're using.


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