1. Perceivable

Activity 3: Creating Closed Captions

Video content poses different types of potential barriers for different groups with disabilities. There are three potential adaptations for multimedia content that can make it accessible to a broader range of users. These include:

  • Closed captions
  • Audio description (and extended audio description)
  • Transcripts

These elements can often be combined to produce video content that is adaptable to a wide range of users. Though audio description for multimedia is an exception in Ontario, many jurisdictions will require it. In Ontario, what might have gone into audio descriptions can be added as text to closed captions instead. These descriptions are often included in [square brackets] to indicate their function within captions, distinguishing them from the spoken dialogue of the video. These can include a description of the setting, visual activity in the video, names of people speaking, and any other important information that one may not be able to determine from listening to the video’s audio track.


In this activity, you will produce closed captions for one minute of video (or the full video if it is shorter than one minute).

Use the Amara Caption Editor (Recommended)

Amara Caption Editor

Step 1: Select a video to caption.

  • Find a short video on YouTube that has spoken dialogue.
  • The video must not be captioned or is captioned using automated captioning. (Be sure the video is family friendly.)

Step 2: Get set up to caption a video on Amara.

  • Create an account on Amara (if you don’t already have one) and log in.
  • Click on “Subtitling Platform” located in the navigation menu across the top of the site.
  • On the page that opens, scroll down to the “Get Started” section near the bottom of the page and click on “Create.”
  • On the next page, you’ll see the “Subtitle a Video” form. Enter the URL to the video you will be captioning, and press “Begin” next to the URL field.
  • On the first screen of the caption editor, choose “Add a new language.” In the subtitle dialogue box that follows, select a language for both the video and the subtitles. Then, press “Continue.”

Step 3: Caption the video.

  • You are now ready to start typing the captions. Remember, if there are important visuals or contextual information, use square brackets to add descriptions where possible.
  • Once you have created captions, synchronize them with the video, and review the captions for accuracy. Press the “Publish” button in the final step.
  • If you need more instructions, watch the following video that describes how Amara works.
    Video: Captioning with Amara© Captioning Course Online. Released under the terms of a Standard YouTube License. All rights reserved.

Step 4: Download the captions file, and create a transcript file.

  • Now that the captions are published, the caption file can be downloaded through the “Download” drop-down menu near the top of the published captions.
  • Download the SRT caption file.
  • Make a copy of the caption file and rename it “transcript.” Open the file in a plain text editor. Remove all the time stamps to produce the transcript for the video.

Use YouTube Studio (Alternative)

YouTube Studio (Login)

If you already have a YouTube account and have videos of your own there, you can produce your captions using the YouTube Caption editor instead.

  1. Log in to YouTube.
  2. Open YouTube Studio.
  3. Open Videos from the navigation menu on the left.
  4. In the list of videos, click the video you’ll caption to open the editor.
  5. Click on “Transcriptions” in the menu on the left.
  6. In the list of transcripts that opens, click on “Add” in the Subtitles column, to open the caption editor.
  7. In the caption editor click “Create new subtitles or CC.”
  8. Review the “Keyboard shortcuts” above the video player.
  9. Type your captions into the subtitle text entry field.
  10. When complete, under the Actions menu, choose Download (which produces a SBV caption file).

NOTE: YouTube updates fairly regularly, and the new YouTube Studio was in beta at the time of writing. As a result the instructions above, and the labels described, may vary from what is currently available on YouTube. Explore, if necessary, to find the caption or subtitle editor if the above instructions have become outdated.


If you are completing this activity as part of a course, your instructor may ask you to submit your work. Your submission should contain two parts (or as instructed by your instructor):

Part 1: Your captioning work

  • Copy and paste about 15 lines from the caption file.
  • Copy and paste about 15 lines from the transcript file.

Part 2: A few lines or a paragraph about your experience using the caption editor

Some questions you might answer in your paragraph:

  • Did you have any difficulties?
  • Were you able to effectively use the editor’s navigation keys?
  • How long did it take you to caption 1 minute of video (or whatever the length of the video is, stating the video length)?
  • Did you get faster at captioning with practice?
  • What other thoughts do you have about the caption editor and the process of captioning?


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Introduction to Web Accessibility Copyright © 2019 by The Chang School, Toronto Metropolitan University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book