Captioning Resources

What is required?

The National Association of the Deaf has two relevant resource pages on the US legal obligations of:

It can be simple

Creating accessible videos is as simple as creating a transcript, either in-house or delegated to a transcriptionist, and using the tools listed in the “Creating accessible videos” section below to sync the transcript into captions. You can see two examples on the Fair Use Week website:

  • The video by Fred voh Lohmann was outsourced to a transcriptionist and captioned using the YouTube instructions outlined in the “Creating accessible videos” section below.
  • Kyle Courtney wrote his own transcript for the video he provided, also captioned through YouTube.

Sample accessibility policies

Model accessibility policies stipulate that new and revised content should be made accessible and have created guidelines for legacy web pages and resources, defined as content that was posted prior to the effective policy date. Examples include:

Visit the Communities of Practice page of the ARL Accessibility Toolkit to view more accessibility policies and the How to Foster an Inclusive Institution page to learn about establishing an accessibility policy on your campus.

Creating accessible videos

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) of the National Association of the Deaf states that accurate captions are “(1) synchronized and appear at approximately the same time as the audio is delivered; (2) equivalent and equal in content to that of the audio, including speaker identification and sound effects; and (3) accessible and readily available to those who need or want them.” See DCMP’s Captioning Key for more information.

To be accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, videos and live audio should have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcript may be sufficient.
The ARL Issue Brief on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from 2012 addresses the need for MOOCs to be accessible to learners with disabilities and outlines that making accessibility a priority in MOOCs constitutes fair use.

The following resources have detailed explanations and practices on captions and transcripts:

Other Resources


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