Provide alternatives for audio and video on a website. Include controls so that the user can stop, play, and pause the content.


It is necessary for video and multimedia to include synchronized captions and transcripts. If a video has narration, it is also best practice for narration to describe the actions in the video, such that a blind person listening to the video can understand what is happening on the screen. For example, in a screen capture video showing how to use a piece of software, the narrator should describe which buttons or menu items are being selected, and how the screen changes in reaction to those clicks. 

Separate descriptive audio tracks, while helpful, are not supported by many common online video players, and also may be prohibitively expensive to produce. For these reasons, synchronized captions and descriptive narration are considered sufficient to enhance the accessibility of videos at this time.

Use the WCAG links provided to get detailed guidelines on how to achieve accessibility for this scenario.

Who benefits from closed captioning?

  • Individuals with hearing loss or hearing impairments
  • People for whom English is not their first language
  • New readers
  • Individuals in noisy environments
  • People with learning disabilities
  • All of us


  • Caption editors: Tools that allow users to generate or edit text captions or transcripts themselves
  • Closed caption services: Third-party services that provides text, usually through a combination of human transcription and AI

What factors are most important?

  • Transcription accuracy
  • Cost of service
  • Time required to caption
  • Ease of integration into your video hosting platform

Caption editors


Yale’s media management platform, Panopto, has the ability to manually upload captions or add captions through automatic speech recognition (ASR). Please note that captions created through ASR are not 100% accurate and should be reviewed and edited before being used for your content. 

You can find detailed directions for captioning your videos in Panopto on the Canvas @ Yale Help Site.


YouTube Platforms like YouTube may attempt to automatically generate captions. Those captions may be used as a starting point, but they are too unreliable to be sufficient. When using YouTube automatic captions, it is important to edit the caption file.

You can access this service in YouTube two different ways:

  1. Through your personal Gmail account.
  2. You can also log in to a Yale-affiliated YouTube account via EliApps. If you do not have an EliApps account please contact the relevant ITS Support Provider to request one.

Directions for creating captions in YouTube.


If your video is longer than 15 minutes, you will need to Enable Longer Videos before you can upload and caption it.

YouTube describes how to enable longer videos in 4 easy steps.

Other Captioning Editors

NCAM (WGBH) CADET : Free, do-it-yourself caption editor. Instructions for using CADET.

Amara : Free, do-it-yourself caption editor. Good translation capabilities. Allows online collaboration. Use when you don’t need your video to remain private. Instructions for using Amara.

Closed caption services

Use for videos that need a high degree of accuracy, such as for a student who needs captioning for a course lecture or for public videos. The vendors listed below are all trusted captioning and transcription services.

CaptionSync :  High accuracy, paid service, 8 hours to 3 business days turnaround. Instructions for using CaptionSync.

3Play Media : High accuracy, paid service, 1 to 2 business days turnaround. Instructions for using 3Play.

Rev : High accuracy, paid service, 24 hours or less for videos under 30 mins. Instructions for using Rev.

Cielo24 : High accuracy, paid service, 3 hours to 2 business days turnaround. Instructions for using Cielo24. : High accuracy, paid services, 4 hour turnaround. Uses artificial intelligence in addition to human captioners. Instructions for using

Trint : High accuracy, paid service, extremely fast turnaround.–often within an hour. Uses artificial intelligence and may require user to edit captions or transcripts. Instructions for using Trint.