Audio and Video


A wide range of students utilizes captions for a variety of reasons; captions are recommended for all instructional videos. Captions serve as a means of equal access to auditory content for students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. Also, captions provide students who are English language learners or those learners that require multiple modalities to retain information, an enhanced ability to learn better and retain information.

Screenshot of Campaign for Cal State LA video. Student with Cal State LA sweatshirt, English captions read "A place that embraces all people"

Selecting Captioned Media 

When choosing videos for your course, the easiest method is to select a video that is already manually captioned. 

  • It is important to note that machine-generated (auto-gen) captions are not of sufficient quality to constitute equal access for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing individuals.

The university subscribes to a variety of video catalogs available through the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library.

YouTube Captions

To check whether YouTube captions are machine-generated, click the "CC" button in the lower right-hand corner of the video. 

  • If there is no CC button, there aren't any captions available.
  • If the captions are auto-generated, when you click on the CC button, the top left of the video will show "caption language and (auto-generated), click for settings."
  • If the video has manual captions, there will be no mention of "auto-generated," only the language, and the "click for settings" prompt will appear.

If you own video assets on YouTube you can manually correct auto-generated captions through the YouTube studio platform.

Audio Transcripts

Utilize transcripts for audio-only content such as podcasts or interviews. Transcripts not only provide a written account of auditory content but are also used by those who would like to search the contents of audio by keywords or concepts. We recommended transcripts for audio-only instructional content; for more information or assistance with audio transcription email Accessibility.

Audio Descriptions

Utilize audio descriptions to create an accessible alternative to visual information displayed without audio narration. Some video styles present informational graphics within the video that are not spoken aloud via a narration track. In this situation, closed captions are not suitable because there is no spoken narration available. The only audio available in these videos tends to be music and leaves a non-sighted individual without the appropriate contextual information. An audio description track can solve this problem by providing a descriptive narrative of the visual information within the video; email Accessibility for assistance with audio transcription. 

Video Captioning Request

If you have exhausted your search for a captioned version of your video material, you can request captioning of your video asset through our third-party captioning service. There is a cost associated with this service, and as such, your college approves all submissions. If you are captioning due to an accommodation request for a student enrolled in your course, Academic Affairs covers the cost.

If you are responsible for creating a large volume of media for your department and require your own CaptionSync account, you can request a CaptionSync account online.