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Kaltura: Professional Captioning FAQ

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The following frequently asked questions relate to professional captions ordered through the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in conjunction with LTS. Although meant to be a source for troubleshooting, it may not provide the answers to all questions. If you find your answer not being answered or addressed, please reach out to the LTS Help Desk (helpdesk@uwec.edu) for technical questions or the SSD office for questions concerning a student's specific request.


What is the difference between automatic machine-generated captions and professional captions? Are automatic, machine-generated captions ADA compliant?

In general, the difference between automatic, machine-generated captions and professional captions comes down to readability. This includes having accurate translations, punctuation, and grammar, so the video viewer can understand the content. Automatic machine captions do not typically include punctuation.

Both professional and automatic machine captions can include inaccurate translations of African American Vernacular English (AAE) or slang that is often spoken in casual conversation. For example, it might translate words like “gonna” or “cuz” with standard English like “going to” or “because.” Best practice in captions dictates that captions should be transcribed as close to the speaker’s words as possible, which means captions will be ordered as “verbatim”.

The industry standard for professional caption accuracy is 99%. Pre-recorded material must be at the level of ADA compliance of Level A or AA according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 1.2.2 standards. In essence, synchronized captions should be provided for all videos with audio. When there is no audio, the caption should state “No sound used in this clip.” Automatic machine captions are roughly 83-87% accurate and do not meet ADA compliance.

If you find there are discrepancies or inaccuracies with professional captions, please reach out to CETL (CETL@uwec.edu) to discuss and troubleshoot.


How do I proactively check to see if a YouTube video has been professionally captioned?

YouTube videos have the option to be automatically machine captioned when they are created; however, the quality of these machine-generated captions can vary. These captions are also not ADA compliant due to the lack of readability and accuracy (see question 1 for details). To check the quality of YouTube video captions, click the CC button within the player.

Automatic machine captions will be labeled as “English (Auto-generated),” which will appear in the upper left corner of the player once it is clicked. Tip: Be sure to click on the actual video that will be captioned and not an advertisement. Professionally captioned videos will be labeled as “English”.


How do I proactively check to see if a Kaltura video has been professionally captioned?

All videos saved within Kaltura (My Media) are automatically machine captioned when they are created or saved into My Media; however, the quality of these machine-generated captions can vary. These captions are also not ADA compliant due to the lack of readability and accuracy (see question 1 for details). Automatic machine captions will be labeled as “English (Autocaption),” which will appear under the CC button once it is clicked. Professionally captioned videos will be labeled as “English”.


Specific things to consider when reviewing automatic machine captions:

  • Spacing of words/text within the captions
  • Proper grammar and punctuation
  • Consistent font and font size throughout the video
  • Number of characters within a line of captioning
  • Placement of closed captions within a video

Can I embed a Kaltura video within a PowerPoint?

Due to limitations within PowerPoint, all videos saved (i.e. YouTube or instructor-created) within Kaltura/My Media cannot be embedded into PowerPoint. Therefore, all videos professionally captioned by Kaltura REACH need to be shared by using a hyperlink. The hyperlink will provide access to the Kaltura version of the video through an internet browser window, which will require some toggling in and out of PowerPoint and the internet browser when viewed.

Please see the following UWEC article, to learn how to hyperlink a Kaltura video within a PowerPoint slide.


How long does it take for videos to be captioned?

Typically, captions are ordered as “best effort,” which takes roughly 72 hours (3 days) to complete during regular business hours Monday-Friday. Most videos are completed before the promised 3-day turnaround. The professional captioning service we are using completes captions Monday-Friday, 24 hours a day.

It is important to plan with the 72-hour turnaround time in mind. The cost for captions that require a shorter turnaround time increases, so it is important to plan accordingly if videos need to be captioned.


How do I know if the captions are complete?

Professional captions are labeled as “English” under the CC button found in the video player. No formal notification is sent when the professional captions are complete. It is the instructor’s responsibility to check under the CC button to ensure they are complete prior to sharing the video with students. If captions are not completed on time, please reach out to CETL (CETL@uwec.edu) to help troubleshoot.


When can I embed or share a link to the Kaltura video?

Videos uploaded and saved within the Kaltura/My Media video repository can be embedded or shared at any time. Captions are overlaid in the video player and will automatically appear within the video if embedded into Canvas or linked onto a page or PowerPoint slide.


Do I need to make my Kaltura video public?

No, the settings for Kaltura videos can stay as “private” which is the default for all videos uploaded into the video repository. CETL/LTS can find the uploaded video by using their Kaltura administrative privileges if they have an accurate name for the video.


What if my video doesn’t have sound?

If your video doesn’t have sound, then it does not have to be submitted for professional captioning. As the instructor, you can choose to add additional captions to help students understand what is happening within the video as needed. Please see the UWSA guide on how to edit captions in a Kaltura video. Note: In the instructions provided, access to videos can be done through the My Media integration in Canvas (instruction under 1a).


Can songs be captioned?

Due to vendor constraints, songs in English and various languages are not supported by our current vendor. However, it is possible that CETL instructional consultants may be able to assist with captioning the video or help provide a transcript of the song for students to follow along with while viewing the video.

Please mark the video as a “song” in the comments line of the spreadsheet provided to you by the Services for Students with Disabilities office and provide a description of the singer/songwriter so the proper transcript may be found. When possible, please allow for a 3-day turnaround timeframe for all songs.


What if my video is in a language other than English?

Currently, professional captions are available for English and Spanish. However, other languages may be available upon request. Please mark the video with the language(s) spoken within the video in the comments line of the spreadsheet provided to you by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office. Because it may take the vendor time to set up our account for additional languages, please allow for a 5-day turnaround timeframe for additional languages.

If there are dual languages spoken (such as English and Spanish), please allow for a 5-day turnaround as the captions will have to be ordered in both languages and edited together to accurately and equitably reflect the languages spoken.


What if I want to proactively caption all my videos, can that be done?

Professional captions can only be ordered in cases where a student in a course identifies as needing professional captions for accommodation purposes. However, videos saved within Kaltura/My Media are automatically machine captioned. These captions are completed at about an 87% accuracy rate, which means they contain errors relating to accuracy (i.e., word choice, grammar, and punctuation) and clarity (i.e., speaker identification and non-speech information). If you would like to fix those errors, captions can be edited using the Kaltura Caption editor.


How should I use closed captioning (CC) in class?

When showing a video in class, turn the captions on by clicking the CC button in the Kaltura video player and selecting the language available. Captions can be helpful when supporting a student who is a non-native speaker of English or who has hearing loss but hasn’t requested an accommodation through the Services for Students with Disabilities Office.


Can I caption a Kaltura Video Quiz?

Yes, however, the process for captioning a Kaltura Video Quiz is longer than a typical video due to a slightly different process for ordering the captions. If you find a Kaltura Video Quiz needs to be captioned, please allow for an additional 48 hours for captions to be completed. It is important to note this timeframe excludes weekends as caption orders are processed during regular business working hours. Please mark the video as a “quiz” in the comments line of the spreadsheet provided to you by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office and be sure to include the date in which the captions are needed by and any special requests (such as a request for captions in another language other than English).

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