How to Add Closed Captions to Videos if You are Blind

Screenshot of the Youtube Closed Captioning page, showing a text box of automated captions for a Ross Minor video, which can be played and viewed on the same page.

As a content creator, it is no secret one of your biggest goals is to reach as wide of an audience as possible. As such, you should want to insure your content is as accessible as possible and one way to do this is through the use of closed captions for people who are hard of hearing. Closed captions are a textual representation of what is being said in a video, as well as other critical sounds important to understanding the plot. However, there’s a bit of a paradox for blind advocates and content creators, and that is the ability to caption their content independently.

Ironically, the vast majority of captioning software is not accessible for screen readers, to my knowledge, but please let me know if this is not the case. There is one method that is accessible with screen readers and that is by editing Youtube’s automatic captions. Whenever a video is uploaded to Youtube, Youtube will automatically add captions to the video. While surprisingly accurate, autogenerated captions do not have punctuation and are still prone to mistakes, which is why clean and accurate subtitles are essential to be effective. Below are step by step instructions on how to edit and use these captions to make your content more accessible, more engaging, and appealing for a wider audience:

Instructions for creating captions

  1. Upload your video to your Youtube channel.
  2. After the video is uploaded and processed, navigate to subtitles on your Youtube dashboard.
  3. Find the video you uploaded and select “duplicate and edit” next to the autogenerated captions.
  4. You will be presented with the video’s autogenerated captions for you to add punctuation and fix any mistakes.
  5. From here, you can save the captions and or download them as a .SBV file, which can be converted to a .SRT file to be used on other platforms.

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