By Sarah Wendorf (Instructional Designer) & Jeff Tranchemontagne (Multimedia Specialist)
Accurate video captions are a necessity for some and a benefit to all. They are not only good for Universal Design for Learning, but they are also mandated by accessibility laws in Ontario for the public sector.
When you post videos to YouTube for your students to watch as part of their learning, YouTube’s automatic captioning service will create automatically-generated captions for your video. However, these automatic captions are not always accurate. This may disadvantage some students who rely upon, or prefer to watch videos using captions. They may miss out on important terminology, names, dates, and other information that may be missed when spoken words are not captioned accurately. As well, poor audio quality, accents, microphone feedback, or background noise may add further inaccuracies.
Luckily, you are able to quickly and easily make edits to your video captions within YouTube’s video editor. This is only possible for videos that you upload yourself and have editing access to.
It may take a few hours for YouTube’s automatically-generated captions to appear on your video. Once that process is complete, follow the steps below to learn how to edit your video captions on YouTube.
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Integrated Accessibility Standards:
Accessible websites and web content section: 14. (4) Designated public sector organizations and large organizations for their internet websites shall meet the requirements of this section in accordance with the following schedule:
1. By January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.
2. By January 1, 2021, all internet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, other than,
i. success criteria 1.2.4 Captions (Live), and
ii. success criteria 1.2.5 Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded). O. Reg. 191/11, s. 14 (4).
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
WCAG 2.0 Guideline 1.2.2 for pre-recorded captions states: “Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)”