Captioning is the process of converting the audio content of a television broadcast, webcast, film, video, CD-ROM, DVD, live event, and other productions into text and displaying the text on a screen or monitor. Captions not only display words as the textual equivalent of spoken dialogue or narration, but they also include speaker identification, sound effects, and music description.
The following clip from Equal Access in the Classroom demonstrates how media is made accessible to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. In the clip, a portion of Democracy It Is! is played twice with no sound in order to simulate the experience of a student who is deaf or hard of hearing. During the first playback, only the program’s original video is provided; in the second, captions are provided.
To toggle captions for this video, click the “T” button. To toggle description, click the “A” button.
Watch the entire 12-minute Equal Access in the Classroom feature to learn more about accessible educational media.
Read “What are Captions?” [PDF] for a closer look at captioning.
To learn more about captioning for the Web—including some important captioning techniques and guidelines—visit the DCMP’s Caption it Yourself (CIY) page.
For DCMP’s comprehensive captioning guidelines, visit our Captioning Key.