WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Captions/Transcripts


From: John Foliot
Date: Apr 25, 2016 3:34PM

Hi Julie,

Not to contradict my colleague Jon Avila, if you are mandated to be WCAG
2.0 AA compliant, then you need captions, transcripts, and (audio)

*1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded):* Captions
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#captionsdef> are provided for all prerecorded
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#prerecordeddef> audio
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#audiodef> content in synchronized media
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#synchronizedmediadef>, except when the media
is a media alternative for text
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#multimedia-alt-textdef> and is clearly
labeled as such. (Level A)

*1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded):* Audio description
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#audiodescdef> is provided for all prerecorded
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#prerecordeddef> video
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#videodef> content in synchronized media
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#synchronizedmediadef>. (Level AA)

...and, although not specifically called out, Transcripts would be a
solution to (as the alternative to a time-based media):

*1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded):* For prerecorded
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#prerecordeddef> audio-only
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#audio-onlydef> and prerecorded video-only
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#video-onlydef> media, the following are
true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text
<https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#multimedia-alt-textdef> and is clearly
labeled as such: (Level A)


*Prerecorded Video-only: *Either an alternative for time-based media or
an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for
prerecorded video-only content.

A *simplistic way* of understanding this is that:

- *captions *are for deaf users,
- (audio) *descriptions *are for blind users,
- *transcripts *would address deaf/blind users, as well as other users
that may require an alternative format (such as cognitive users).

One aspect of transcripts (unique to them) is that they do not require
timing synchronization (whereas both captions and audio descriptions do).

Caption files are usually marked up with timing information (whether WebVTT
or TTML, or any of a number of different time-stamp formats), whereas a
good transcript *might* instead be marked up in HTML, taking advantage of
the semantic structure that HTML brings to a longer document (which could
also be 'transformed' into another format - braille output for example). So
while there may not be any apparent difference between your current
"captions" and "transcripts", I might suggest that is because one of the
two is improperly implemented :-)

You will note as well that I have been putting (audio) in parenthesis when
speaking of descriptions: while WCAG specifically calls for audio
description, some organizations are stepping back a bit from that
(see: Appendix
B: List of Exclusions at

This is currently an untested 'legal' requirement as far as I am aware, and
we have numerous examples of websites now offering "interactive"
transcripts that offer both the captions as well as the text that would be
the audio description (which, when combined essentially *is* the
transcript), and providing that as a "combo" of sorts. (This may or may not
be legally accepted - again this is untested legal ground).

I have also seen proof of concept examples where the "audio" description is
provided to the non-sighted user as a text file, allowing the user to parse
that file with their screen reader at the more rapid reading rate that most
screen reader users adopt - again, all interesting and potentially useful
solutions to addressing the actual user need, but uncertain whether or not
the legal need is being met.

This might be more than you need, but I will also point you to the
following resources:

Media Accessibility User Requirements:
DCMP Captioning Key: http://www.captioningkey.org/
The Described and Captioned Media Program: http://www.vdrdc.org/dln/dcmp

Hope this helps.


On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 2:48 PM, _mallory < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> I wish I had had this functionality when I was in school:
> https://fronteers.nl/congres/2015/sessions/what-is-the-business-case-for-accessibility-alice-bartlett
> this is an example video on the Fronteers website, where clicking
> (with a mouse only, unfortunately) on any bit of text brings the
> video right directly to that spot.
> On long videos, this really lets me ctrl-f and search a term
> and then jump right to that part of the video.
> Not quite answering your question but I see the value here of
> transcripts that are not more than the captions.
> In general transcripts work with ctrl-f and captions don't, or
> I don't know how to ctrl-f captions...
> _mallory
> On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 01:07:40PM -0500, Julie Grisham wrote:
> > Hi everyone!
> >
> >
> > I have a question about captions and transcripts. Personally, I am deaf,
> > but in terms of getting information related to compliance in this area, I
> > am still a bit of a novice.
> >
> >
> > I understand that both are required to ensure AA compliance. I'd like to
> > give you a little background information and post a couple specific
> > questions because this situation is a bit different. If anyone can help
> by
> > providing a resource link to WCAG and/or other similar sites to help me,
> > that would be great!
> >
> >
> > *Background: *Several tests are developed for students (multiple forms).
> We
> > have individual tests that are accommodated for a specific population of
> > students with disabilities. We cannot bundle all accommodations in one
> form
> > due to the technology limitations set by the technology and security
> specs.
> > There might be a test that is delivered in large print and Braille. A
> test
> > delivered using Text to Speech, a test delivered using sign language
> videos
> > (ASL signer in video) and a test delivered using captions for video
> clips.
> > There are portions of the tests that are the same across the board, some
> > variation to get a good sample of results.
> >
> >
> > For the test that is delivered using captions. There might be one to two
> > short video clips and the captions are timed according to the voice.
> > Questions related to the clip may indicate time markers before the
> question
> > (example: In the video at 2:20, how….).
> >
> >
> > We received a request to add a transcript that is just verbatim what is
> > provided in the captions so the student sees a tab with the video
> (captions
> > embedded) and a tab showing the transcript. The target population for
> this
> > accommodation are students with a hearing loss who need captions, but do
> > not use American Sign Language. Those using sign language and who are
> > deaf/blind are accommodated using different forms.
> >
> >
> > Typically, the video clips are available in a non-accommodated test and
> > students taking this test are able to replay the clip and listen as often
> > as possible. For the captions-accommodated test, the student with the
> > hearing loss can do the same – replay and read captions as often as
> needed.
> >
> >
> > Now, my questions are:
> >
> >
> > Given this background information, is it necessary to provide transcript
> in
> > addition to the captions?
> >
> >
> > What is the benefit of the transcript if it's just verbatim what is in
> the
> > captions? The transcripts I saw did not have any extra information that
> is
> > not already in the captions and it appeared to be distracting for the
> > student to see there's something additional to read -- my opinion as a
> deaf
> > person who uses captions on a daily basis. It was my understanding from
> > WCAG that transcripts are typically more descriptive than captions. This
> is
> > not the case in this situation.
> >
> >
> > Using the background information I provided, is it required to add the
> > transcript even though it's verbatim? Even though other accommodations
> are
> > not embedded on the same test?
> >
> >
> > Regarding format of transcripts – are there samples of how transcripts
> can
> > be displayed online with videos that I might be able to view to get some
> > ideas how best to deliver this if we still need to provide a transcript.
> By
> > format, I'm talking about specific transcript content requirements and
> also
> > if it needs to be within the video clip's player.
> >
> >
> > I'm sure as I see feedback, I may have more questions. Thanks in advance!
> >
> > Julie
> > > > > > > > > > > > >

John Foliot
Principal Accessibility Consultant
Deque Systems Inc.

Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion