How To Provide Captions and Transcripts

Captions and transcripts are intended for people with auditory disabilities, but they are also helpful for non-native speakers, as a general aid to understanding, in noisy environments, and when there is a need to keep the volume low or off.

Video Captions

  • Appear within the media player window
  • Are synchronized with the audio track
  • Can be generated live by AI or a professional captioner
  • Can be added after a video is recorded


  • Provide a text description of audio
  • Are best for recordings of spoken audio
  • Appear in a separate text file outside the video player

Media Central

Recordings added to Media Central are automatically captioned. Do not caption your videos beforehand - once you upload them to Media Central, existing captions will be overwritten. This page provides instructions for editing captions to improve their accuracy.

Course-Related Videos

Course-related videos may also be posted to Panopto, where they are also automatically machine captioned. For support, contact the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.

Editing Captions in Media Central to Improve Accuracy

Once you upload a video, the captioning process will begin and generally takes a few hours. Once the process is complete:

  1. Go to Media Central.
  2. Log in.
  3. Pull down the menu under your profile name, and select My Media.
  4. In the list of videos that appears, click on the title of the video you want to edit.
  5. When the video detail page opens, pull down the ACTIONS menu and select Captions & Enrich.
  6. Select the pencil (edit) icon.
  7. When the Closed Captions Editor page opens, click on the first caption entry, which will take you to the start of the spoken audio in the video. Then select the video play button to follow along.
  8. Check back and forth as you listen to the video and read the caption entries. Start and stop the video as needed, so that you can correct the captions to match the spoken audio.
  9. Save your work every few minutes.

Captions Editing Tip Sheet

Please see the Described and Captioned Media Program Tip Sheet for a quick reference on captions editing best practices. 

Professional Live Captioning

Also known by the technical term "Communication Access Real-time Translation" (CART), live captions are provided by a professional captioner. They may be required as an accommodation. Captions are shown over the bottom portion of the video window. 

When working with captioning suppliers, provide materials in advance, such as the names of the presenters and those referenced, technical terms, specialized language, references (such as to papers or student presentations), and copies of speeches. For Major Events

  1. When you submit a request for Media Event/Production Support, indicate on the form the need for live captioning.
  2. You must then also separately schedule live captioning.

For Zoom Webinars

  1. To enable professional live captioning, you must first submit a request for a Video / Web Conferencing Account.
  2. Once your account has been established, schedule live captioning. 
  3. Contact AV Services with any questions or concerns.

For Zoom Meetings

  1. All staff Zoom accounts are Meeting accounts, so no account request is required.
  2. Schedule professional live captioning.
  3. Contact AV Services with any questions or concerns.

Automated Live Captions

Automated live captions are computer-generated captions that transcribe speech to text live. Since the accuracy of computer-generated captions varies considerably, they are not sufficient for accommodation requests, instead use a professional captioner if you receive a request for captioning. However, since many people benefit from captions, even those with hearing, it is recommended that automated live captions are used during live and online events even if no accommodation request has been received.

There are many ways you can enable live automated captions on your device.

  • Enable live captions on Windows or Mac. This will caption all audio picked up by your computer's microphone, or system audio, and can be used during live presentations.
  • Toggle on captions in Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings. This feature is automatically enabled and is toggled on or off by individual users, no setup is required.
  • Use subtitles in PowerPoint. PowerPoint subtitles don't just provide live captions in English, but many other languages as well. This is best for live presentations. Tip: Make sure subtitles are configured to display below the slide, not overlaid or they might cover up slide content.

Editing Live Caption Appearance

Make sure the captions are large with high color contrast so that they can be read easily. A black background with white text works well and Verdana or Arial are both good options for fonts.

  • Customizing caption appearance in Windows or Mac.
  • Users can customize their own caption font, size, and color individually in Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
  • PowerPoint will use your Windows or Mac caption settings.