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Captioning Guidelines

Just like the closed captioning text on a television, online video content can be captioned to enable accessibility for people with disabilities. Captioning is a relatively simple process that will allow for greater functionality of web content, and will ensure that projects are in compliance with Sec. 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Captioning does not have to just mean a transcript of the audio portion of your video. It can also provide additional information about what is visible on the screen allowing video content to be accessible to vision impaired users.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • video in any major format: Microsoft's Windows Media, Apple Computer's Quick Time, and Real System's RealMedia,
  • a transcript of the audio portion of the video, and
  • a captioning tool like Magpie.

TRANSCRIPT GUIDELINES

Transcribe the video into a text document (file format of .txt). The transcription should be single spaced with two returns between speaking breaks. Files created in this manner are easily imported into Magpie (Magpie will automatically enter the text into separate fields), and will result in a lot of saved time.

Separate sentences mean separate lines

A basic rule to remember when transcribing is that you should make each sentence a separate line (with two line returns). If the sentences are very short and are spoken rather quickly, it is fine to put them in the same section:

EXAMPLE:
This is sentence is an introduction and is about one topic. Sentence two is next and is about something else.

Becomes

This is sentence is an introduction and is about one topic.

Sentence two is next and is about something else.

Changing speakers

Option 1: An in-line option in which the speaker’s name, followed by a colon, is immediately followed by the text.

EXAMPLE:
Narrator: This is an example of narration.

Karen Cross: Quote from Karen Cross.

Narrator: Return to narrator.

Option 2: Type the speaker’s name and return to the next line for the quote. If an unknown speaker narrates the piece, denote “Narrator” above the first line only.

EXAMPLE:
Narrator
This is an example of narration

Karen Cross
Quote from Karen Cross

Narrator
Return to narrator.

The main difference between the two is the space needed for the second option. Although it is easier to recognize the change in speaker, this option will use an extra line in the text box. If the captioned text is rather short, this is a good option. If the captioned text is longer and space is an issue, use the in-line option.

Save the caption file as a plain text document. The file extension depends on the media format:.

  • for RealMedia content, the caption file is a plain text document with an file extension of .rt,
  • for Windows Media, the caption file is a plain text document with a file extension of .smi, and
  • for Quick Time, the caption file as a plain text document. (See WebAIM for specific instructions.)

The next step is publishing your media with captions. This is media specific.

To see examples of captioned videos, look at the Publishing Examples section of this Web site.

 


  Updated May 04 2007
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