In a previous post, we explained two options supported by the university for hosting video content in your online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. Today, we will explain how to make sure your YouTube videos are fully accessible using YouTube’s built-in closed captioning feature.
To get started, you’ll need to upload a video using a computer, Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Next, select the option below that fits your situation:
Option 1: I already have a transcript.
By far the quickest and easiest way to make sure your videos are accessible is to prepare a script in advance before you record. In addition to assuring that you will not forget to cover any critical material, a script will also ensure that you stay on track and avoid tangents while recording. Once you’ve prepared your script and uploaded your video, follow these steps:
- Save your script as a plain text file (.txt). If you are using Microsoft Word, a settings pop-up will appear with file conversion options; be sure to select the option to “Allow character substitution.” You may leave all other settings at their default value. (If you do not select character substitution, YouTube may read common punctuation incorrectly, such as apostrophes or quotation marks.)
- When you are signed in to your YouTube account, navigate to your video and click the CC button directly underneath the video player.
- Click the blue button, Add new subtitles or CC, and select your language (usually English).
- Select the option to Upload a file.
- For file type, select transcript.
- Click Choose File, and find the plain text file that you created in step 1. Click Upload.
- Your transcript should then appear in the text box. You may watch your video once more and double-check your transcript for accuracy, or if you are confident with what you have uploaded, simply click the blue Set timings button.
- That’s it! YouTube will automatically scan your video and text, and create accurate, correctly-timed closed captions.
Option 2: I need to create a transcript for an existing recording.
Depending on the length and complexity of your video and the content, creating transcripts can be a time-consuming process. YouTube does have several powerful features to make it a bit easier, though:
- YouTube auto-captions
YouTube’s auto-captioning feature is surely not perfect, but it is getting more accurate as time goes on and Google is able to harvest more and more voice data. Auto-captions are created automatically after you upload a video, usually within several hours after uploading. (Sometimes, it may take up to one day before auto-captions will appear. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this process up; all you can do is keep checking after you’ve uploaded a video to see if they are ready.)To check if auto-captions are ready for your video, go to your video’s closed-captioning settings using the directions in step 2 above. Once they have been created, they will appear like this:Click on the captions, usually titled “English (Automatic)“, and then click the blue Edit button.You can then play the video and jump from caption to caption to edit for accuracy. Once you are finished, simply click the blue Publish edits button.
- Create a transcript from scratch
This option is the most time and labor intensive option, but usually produces the best results (if you didn’t use a script).To use YouTube’s built-in transcription feature, simply follow steps 2 and 3 above (go to your video’s closed caption settings, and select the option to “Add new subtitles or CC.”) However, instead of uploading a file, you’ll select the option to Transcribe and auto-sync.On the following page, you may play your video and begin typing what is spoken into the text box. YouTube will pause the video while you are typing automatically, making it easier to type what you hear, as you hear it, without falling too far behind. When you have finished typing what is spoken in your video, click the blue Set timings button. After several minutes, YouTube will have automatically timed the text to the video, creating accurately timed closed captions.
This is overwhelming. HELP!
We get it – you are busy, and it takes time to make sure your content is accessible. The technology behind accessibility can also feel overwhelming at times. We’re here to help you, though!
Any of the professionals at COLRS are available for one-on-one tutorials or departmental workshops in which we can teach you, face to face, how to use this technology and ensure your content is accessible to all students. To set something up, or if you just need some help along the way as you try this yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us.