Audio and Video Accessibility

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It's important to keep captions and transcripts in mind when creating media content.

Text supplements make content easier to translate into other languages, are better optimized for search engines, can provide a better user experience, and are required per accessibility compliance standards.


The WCAG Rule

Following the California State University system's lead, CSULB aims to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which includes a specific set of guidelines for the captioning of media content. The California State University System states on its page regarding captioning that, "CSU campuses are required by policy and law to ensure that their websites, instructional materials and electronic and information technology products and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Many of these resources, e.g., multimedia and video, require captioning to be considered accessible." Additional information regarding the need for captioning or transcribing all audio/video content:

Audio Content

If you plan to utilize an audio-only file (a podcast, an interview, etc.), a text transcript or some sort of text-based alternative should be provided. Often these files can be served as simple text on the page hosting the file, or as a text-only file download. Per the Rev blog: 8 Killer Tips For Audio Transcription and Recording, some benefits of audio transcription include:

  • Better comprehension - having a transcript that someone can refer back to leads to better investigations and easier ability to cite directly from the material. 
  • Increased SEO - providing direct text allows for easier comprehension by web-indexing spiders - in turn leading to higher placement and quality of search engine results.
  • Repurposing Content - transcripts can be easily edited and re-used for supplemental content. 

If transcribing yourself, it can be helpful to write in chunks with your own shorthand. Assume in advance that you'll be going through a second and third time for fine tuning of your transcription. If you are transcribing a computer audio file, learn the shortcut commands for that program to start and stop playing the file.

There are various services that provide both machine-based and human transcribed text for audio files. In some instances these services may also be able to provide human translations of content into other languages.

Video Content

When video is utilized, captions are necessary. Before you go the route of captioning materials on your own, please note: CSULB has already established assistance for compliance with captioning requirements of videos and audio content of instructional materials. Please contact the Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Center at with your captioning requests. AIMC will review requests and where appropriate will forward them to partners in Academic Technology Services (ATS).

CSULB has a contract with Automatic Sync and the process turnaround time is 1-2 weeks, but there are no guarantees.

Captioning by Yourself

We strongly recommend enlisting the means of the AIM Center or a professional captioning vendor in order to caption or transcribe your video and audio materials. If you are in a situation where you need to caption the materials yourself, there are some options.