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“Captioning ensures equal access, an equal opportunity to participate, and effectively communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” ~National Association of the Deaf

Captioning is the process of converting the audio content of a television broadcast, webcast, film, video, CD-ROM, DVD, live event, or other productions into text and displaying the text on a screen, monitor, or other visual display system.  Deaf and hard of hearing people often rely on captions to watch video media. Captions can provide assistance to individuals where English is their second language, and can also help viewers who have learning disabilities or attention deficits more easily maintain their concentration.  Captions allow viewers to watch video in a sound sensitive environment like a quiet office or on public transportation, and have been shown to assist people with comprehension of the dialogue, since 41% of video is incomprehensible without sound or captions.

Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires all agencies receiving federal funding to make their electronic and information technology accessible to all people, including those with disabilities. The Subpart B Technical Standards 1194.24(c)(b) of Section 508 for Video and Multimedia product further specifies:

"All training and informational video and multimedia productions… that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content shall be open or closed captioned."

Note: Captions can be open or closed. Open captions are permanently coded and displayed with the video and cannot be turned off whereas closed captions can be turned on and off.


Transcription is the process in which speech or audio is converted into a written, plain text document. Transcripts are the output of transcription, and because they are plain text there is no time information attached to them. Both transcription and captioning offer their own benefits, and knowing the role they each play in video and audio will help you determine how to utilize them. The appropriate accommodation for accessible video is synchronous captions. For content that is audio only, transcripts are sufficient.

If you have further questions about the captioning service or captioning standards, please feel free to reach out to the Accessibility Specialist or call 707-664-2677.

Instructor Guidance:  Caption Accommodations 

If a Disability Management Advisor determines that a student requires captioning as an approved accommodation, you will be notified, and all course captioning must be provided.

Prior to the start of each semester, check your course materials to see if you have audio or video content, and determine the dates by which the students will need to access that material. Make sure captions are available for any of the media, and if so, they must be accurate. 

If video or audio materials will be required for your course, please notify your students on or before the first day of class. When reviewing your syllabus with students, it is important to note if there is multimedia content.

Every effort should be made to purchase videos containing captions. If you already own a video without captions, contact the Campus Library to see if they have a captioned version of the video. If the Library does not have the captioned version, your department is responsible for purchasing captioned videos.

YouTube and Yuja’s auto-generated captions are not accurate, and will need to be replaced with human captions. Please contact the Accessibility Specialist for more information on the process.

Captioning Request 

If you have a student with an approved captioning accommodation, please submit the Captioning Service Request Form. This form will include basic information about your course and the media to be captioned. Please complete the form as soon as possible to ensure that your course materials will be captioned in a timely manner. The captioning process may take up to 10 business days.

Know the California State University Policy

"It is the policy of the CSU to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the general public regardless of disability."

The CSU's Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) implementation approach is driven by the following principles:

  • Technology accessibility is an institution-wide responsibility that requires commitment and involvement from leadership across the enterprise.
  • Technology access for individuals with disabilities must provide comparable functionality, affordability, and timeliness and should be delivered in as seamless a manner as possible.
  • The implementation of Universal Design principles should reduce the need for, and costs associated with, individual accommodations for inaccessible technology products.