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Captioning at UIC

Download the Captioning for Online Classes and Events PDF guide.

Why? Heading link

The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act guidelines and other laws require synchronized captions for most multimedia at the time the video is posted. There are two exceptions:

  1. You absolutely know that no person seeing the videos requires captions.
  2. No action in the video requires captioning. For example, a professor is lecturing without any visual actions and is just talking. In this case a text transcript would still be required of the lecture.

Beyond legal needs, there are other reasons to caption:

  1. Captioned videos allow for universal access to videos, they are not just for people with disabilities.
  2. Many people use captions in quiet environments.
  3. Captioning is useful when English is a person’s second language.
  4. Captioned videos allow people to use search engines to find specific text from the video.

How? Heading link

DO – The most important first step is to create a text transcript of the video.

  1. Outsourcing the creation of the transcript and the rest of the video captioning process (expensive way, but generally higher quality).
  2. You have to deal with the turnaround time whether you use internal or outsourced services.
  3. You can considerably reduce the expense of captioning a video if you have already created a transcript of the lecture. A creative way to create a transcript is to use Dragon Naturally Speaking or other speech recognition programs to repeat the words of a video into a text document.
  4. The timing of synchronizing the words with the actions is important for a captioned video to be useful.

CAUTION: Automatically creating captions through automatic speech recognition is not reliable and should only be a first step.

CAUTION: YouTube allows for automatically generated captions, but the captions are unreliable.

DO NEXT: Investigate some of the resources noted below to create captioned videos.

YouTube Video Captioning Resources

There are many resources to create captioned videos in YouTube. One resource that can be helpful is YouTube’s own directions to create captioned videos.

Amara is a good resource to caption Youtube videos. It has an editor to make it easy to create and sync captions to Youtube videos.

Easy YouTube Caption Creator was developed to help you create the captioned transcript for your YouTube file.

Subtitle Horse is also an editor to create YouTube video transcriptions.

Captioning Other Video Formats

Help is also available for captioning other video formats.

Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate allows for captioning of videos. An Adobe Captivate blog outlines the directions to insert captions into videos.

Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio is a screen capture and video editing software available at the WebStore. Camtasia can easily add captions to video using Speech to Text, importing of a script or through an automated manual workflow. The video can then be uploaded to YouTube right from Camtasia. Here is a quick guide that shows the manual process.

MAGpie is a free software that captions a variety of file formats .rm / .ra,.wav,.avi, .swf, .mpg / .mpeg, .mp3, .mp4, .3gp, .smil / .sml, .wmv .asf and DV formats.


3Play Media and Automatic Sync Technologies are companies that have a service to caption Echo360 files. They both work to automated the process by creating the transcript and syncing it with the Echo video. There is a cost for these services.

There is also a manual way to caption Echo videos. Here are the directions:

You will need to download the audio content that you intend to transcribe. The EchoSystem Server makes this easy to do.

  1. Find the presentation that you want to caption.
  2. Hover over the presentation name and click “closed caption”
  3. Download and save the audio MP3 file

When the captioning or transcription text is completed, you need to add this new metadata to the presentation. Again, the EchoSystem Server makes this a painless process.

  1. Find the presentation that you want to caption
  2. Hover over the presentation name and click “edit”
  3. Click on the “Add Resources” button at the bottom of the edit page
  4. Either type in, or browse to and select, the name of the file that contains your captioning track
  5. Click on the “Add Resources” button to save the content

Echo360 will now add the captioning track to the presentation.

Real-Time Captioning

Live events that publicly available and/or have a person with a hearing impairment attending that are live online also need captioning.

Blackboard Collaborate is a tool that integrates the capabilities for live captioning for webinars. A captioner can type into a window that can be displayed by the participant. For support in captioning Collborate webinars contact ACCC.

If you are in need of support in finding a company that will do real-time captioning contact the DRC by phone at (312) 413-2183 or by email at

Outsourcing Video Captioning

Departments may want to caption their own videos “in house” using tools as listed above. Departments may also decide that it would be better to outsource the work to a vendor. There are many companies that can complete the whole process of captioning videos for online usage. If you have a transcript, that would reduce the cost for the department. There are companies that will also complete the transcript and full synchronization of the captioning. You can contact the DRC by phone at (312) 413-2183 or by email at for more information concerning outsourcing captioning services.