Add Text Transcripts for Video and Audio Elements

Many people are familiar with the benefits of providing synchronized captions. They allow people who have hearing impairments to understand the full meaning of a video. They also help people who don't have hearing impairments - for example, a person watching a video in a library who has forgotten her headphones.

But providing captions is only one of the important steps. In addition, a text transcript must be provided. Why is this? People who are both deaf and blind often use a refreshable Braille display to read text output. While some of these devices are technically compatible with captions, the captions move too quickly for many Braille users. Thus, the Braille display would display lines of text too quickly, proving frustrating or even worse - completely useless. A text transcript ensures that a person can progress through the information at their own pace.

A text transcript should include all audible elements, which include: dialogue, important background sounds, music identification, and more. They should also include a description of important visual-only elements. Many times there is significant information displayed on screen that has no audio associated with it - characters' expressions, scenery changes, implicit nonverbal communication between people, etc.

There are various ways to provide a transcript:

  1. Provide the transcript on the same page as the video (make sure that it's easy to find, such as directly below the video).
  2. Provide a link to the transcript. That way, the page is not crowded with the transcript, but users can access it if they'd like. Again, ensure that it's easy to find (below the video is a good place).
  3. Provide an interactive transcript, such as the one available via the fully accessible, cross-browser media player, Able Player.