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What is captioning?

Captioning is the process of creating text to display during the audio portion of a video as it occurs. It not only benefits viewers with hearing impairments or deafness but also supports the concept of universal design by producing far reaching and often unanticipated benefits to others. Captioning can help reduce language barriers by making it easier to understand speakers with accents or instances where the viewer and speaker have different native languages. Another benefit of captioning is that it can facilitate more flexible use, for example in a noisy environment or for computers without the ability to playback sound. In addition, the captions can improve comprehension for some learning styles or for viewers with certain learning disabilities. It can also be helpful for topics that are complex or contain technical terms or for audio that was recorded poorly or in a noisy environment.

What is the process for captioning videos?

The first step to captioning involves creating a transcript of the audio content of the program. This can be done manually, through speech recognition or by a live transcriptionist. The next step is to create a caption file that syncs the transcript to the timecode of the program. The final step is to add the captions to the media file.

How do I use the CSU negotiated service to create transcriptions and/or captioning files for my videos?

The CSU Chancellor's Office has negotiated an agreement with Automatic Sync Technology (AST) for a bulk pre-purchase of captioning, transcribing and combined captioning/transcribing services at a cost savings of approximately 30%. AST uses live transcriptionists so the accuracy of the transcription is extremely high compared to programs that use speech recognition.

Pricing is as follows:

  • Captioning only (i.e., user provides the transcript):  $37.00 per hr ($0.62 / min)
  • Transcription only (i.e., no synchronized captioning):  $82.00 per hr ($1.37 / min)
  • Transcription & captioning (i.e., user provides only the media file, receives both a transcript and caption files):  $119.00 per hr ($1.99 / min)

Turnaround is immediate for captioning only and approximately three business days when transcription is involved (though normally delivered in less than three days). RUSH 24-hour turnaround service (one business day) is available for Transcription Only at $115 per hr ($1.92 / min) and Transcription & Captioning for $152 per hr ($2.54 / min).

Check with your department to find out how you can utilize the Automatic Sync services and then set up an account on their website.

Once you have received the caption files from Automatic Sync you will need to add them to your media. Each media format has a slightly different process for adding captions. The Faculty Technology Center Staff can assist you in using Automatic Sync's services and adding captions to your media.

How do I create my own transcriptions and/or captioning files for my videos?

If you are using YouTube to host your videos, the Video Manager in your YouTube channel allows you to add or edit captions for your videos. To learn more, visit YouTube's help section on captioning.

If you are not using YouTube, the Faculty Technology Center can provide access to a captioning software program called DocSoft, which transcribes video or audio files provided by the user.  The FTC staff can assist you in getting started with DocSoft. 

How can I learn more about captioning?

WebAIM provides a good overview of captioning. You can find helpful How-To Videos on all aspects of captioning on Automatic Sync's website. DocSoft has a User Group site which contains FAQs, forums and videos about their software.

How can I get more help?

If you have questions, please contact the Faculty Technology Center.

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