Why Caption

Provide accessibility for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing viewers
Providing access to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers provides access to these students, broadens your potential audience, but also protects you from potential legal action.

Comply with federal regulations
Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Sections 508 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act contain requirements that video content be accessible to people with disabilities. Captioning videos in education settings and other entities that receive federal funding will help protect against possible legal action. See the section on Federal Regulations regarding captioning.

Enhance second language learning
Captioned media can help second language learners improve vocabulary acquisition, listening comprehension, and word recognition and decoding skills.

Develop foundation reading skills
Research has shown that hearing students have improvement in motivation, reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition when shown text captions along with audio and video.

Improve comprehension and engagement for all students and multiple learning styles
Students viewing videos with captions have been shown to have greater comprehension and retention as evidenced by more detailed class discussions and improved test scores.

Overcome problems with an audio track
Captions compensate for poor audio quality, and the inability to understand the speaker.

Broaden environments where videos can be viewed
Videos can be watched where there is too much noise, or where sound will be disturbing to others.

Make video content directly searchable
Using captions, viewers on your website can search for a given word within a video to find the videos they’re looking for.

Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase your views
Since text, as opposed to video, is searchable, captions allow Google and other search engines to index your videos so they can be found. Note: It’s important to note that YouTube’s automatic captions are not indexed by Google or YouTube due to the high error rate. High quality professional captions are the only way to take advantage of the SEO benefits.

Follow the principles of Universal Design
Universal Design principles result in approaches that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. Captions adhere to that goal.

Relevant research on benefits of captions:

Captions for Literacy. Research supporting the use of captions. http://captionsforliteracy.org/learn.php.

Center for Technology Implementation. (2010). Captioning to support literacy. American Institutes for Research. 

Collins, R. (2013). Using captions to reduce barriers to Native American student success. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 37(3), 75-86.

Dallas, B., McCarthy, A., & Long, G. (2016).  Examining the educational benefits of and attitudes toward closed captioning among undergraduate students. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(2), 56-65.

Linder, K. (2016) Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions and Transcripts: Results from a national study. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit.

Winke, P., Gass, S., & Sydorenko, T. (2010). The effects of captioning videos used for foreign language listening activities. Language Learning & Technology, 14(1), 65-86. http://llt.msu.edu/vol14num1/winkegasssydorenko.pdf.

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National Technical Institute for the Deaf
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This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers: DUE 1104229 and DUE 1501756.