Much Ado About Captioning Videos for WordPress and Beyond

Talk by Meryl K. Evans / View Slides

It is very easy to add a YouTube or Vimeo-hosted video to your WordPress site, but omitting the captions excludes many more people than you think. Not just the 6% of the world that is deaf or hard of hearing.

Get your captioning questions answered by the person who depends on them.

You’ll learn:

  • Why do I want to caption my videos? (Besides accessibility, of course!)
  • How do captions work?
  • Adding captioned videos to WordPress
  • What are my options for captioning my videos?
  • How do I create awesome captions?

Questions on “Much Ado About Captioning Videos for WordPress and Beyond

  1. Q: I’ve heard you present and mention Disney’s Hamilton being so impactful with their use of captions, because traditional musicals may not be as accessible as needed. Can you share another development in captioning or technology (i.e. voice to text on mobile phones) that has been impactful on you?

    1. The biggest one has to be video conferencing. I gave up on video calls a couple of years ago after a couple of bad experiences. The pandemic forced me to try video calls again. And it’s been a much better experience thanks to technology. Not all of it is perfect. I had a chat with a prospect who had an accent. The captions decided to flake and they weren’t doing a good job.

      The best one is Google Meet because it has captions built-in and identifies the speaker. HUGE! With Zoom and other apps, I have to open a second app to do the automatic captions. If I want to share my screen or look at something on my computer, I have to re-arrange everything again to get back into the conversation. I go in detail here:

      And THANK YOU again to Disney for bringing Hamilton to the screen as I thought I’d have to wait years to see it in captions. That show is the calculus of musicals — the hardest to learn. I read up and study lyrics … but my goodness!

    1. For those who are price-conscious, I recommend finding an automatic transcription app that works. Some work better than others depending on the speaker. You can either run the transcription while creating the video or after. Pick one that creates a text file with the transcript.

      Copy and paste the transcript into YouTube and use the “Transcribe and auto-sync” feature. Video here:

    1. Considering there are so many apps and tools to caption your video, the best resource is usually the website that makes the app you want to use. I use YouTube as the example because almost everyone has an account and it’s free. This post shows you multiple ways to add captions using YouTube.

      You might also try the FAQ here as it covers the basics:

    1. You don’t want to have both because open captions always show up. You can’t turn them off and on. So, if closed-captions are running — they’re going to overlap the open captions.

      Closed-captions have one huge advantage: they give the view control over the captions. They can turn it off and on. They can change the font, colors, etc. It depends on the service they’re using to view the video. Some offer more options than others.

      As an FYI, you’ll see some of my videos have open captions. That’s because my caption file worked and then disappeared on LinkedIn. For me, it’s more important to set an example.

      Detailed discussion on closed vs. open captions aka the Cola Wars of captions!

      While on this topic, it’s also important to understand subtitles and captions. The names aren’t as important because some countries use “subtitles” when they’re talking about captions not translations.

  2. 1) How would you prioritize going through a large backlist of videos to get them captioned?
    2) How important is to have captions in multiple languages?

    1. 1. Using a captioning service would probably be the best option as some give you a price break for providing more videos.

      2. Depends on your audience. You can take a transcript and run it through a translator. But we all know automation is far from accurate. For every language you add, you’ll have a separate caption file. But not all services even allow you to upload a caption file. For example, I don’t have access to Twitter Media, which is where you upload caption files. So, either I feed it to Twitter by linking to a captioned video on YouTube or Vimeo … or I upload open captions into Twitter.

    1. Network TV, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Peloton, and TedX do captions well. TedX not only provides high quality captions, but also in multiple languages. Except for network TV, the others allow you to change your captioning preferences: color, font, size, etc.

      Disney+ wins bonus points for pulling off the super-fast singing on Hamilton 😎

      Live captioning still needs work because of delays, missed lines, and incorrect words.

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