The Importance of Quality Captioning

The previous post talked about how business owners, bloggers, and vloggers are missing an opportunity to caption their videos. While it is important to the caption, we must also realize that quality captions are important. There is nothing worse when watching a video where the captions are missing, inaccurate, and inappropriate for your target market. It is worth the investment to take the time and make sure your captions are good quality.

Gary Robson’s TED Talk “ Does Closed Captioning still serve for Deaf people?” describes, how important quality captioning are for the D/deaf and HOH audiences:

While a lot of Deaf activists have spoken out about this issue, quality closed captioning is often disregarded as not important.  Sometimes poor quality captioning can be seen as entertainment rather than being accessible. Everyone is familiar with Youtube’s automatic captioning feature and how terrible it is. It is famous for making fun of poor captioning. Many people forget that speech recognition hasn’t reached its peak yet.  It is not 100% accurate which makes reading the captions unbearable for people who need them.

What if Your Business  is Promoting on Youtube?

If you have a Youtube channel, you may not have noticed there is a feature that the community can contribute captions for your videos. It is a wonderful  tool if you cannot afford to create your own captions. However, like the automatic captions, it can be prone to quality issues if the content creator is not reviewing them.

There is a trend where people can vandalize the captions.  People can take advantage of the feature by adding their own commentary and jokes. These issues with the automatic and community contributed captions need to be kept in mind when captioning your content.  It is the content creator’s responsibility to ensure quality captioning.

What Can You Do to Promote Quality Captioning

  • Follow the FCC ( Federal Communications Commissions) Guidelines.

While the FCC does not apply to every video situation, it is a good idea to use the FCC captioning quality guidelines as a reference.

  • Don’t put up captions without checking.

Whether you chose to allow others to contribute captions or do them yourself, check over for review. Make sure they are correct and accurate as possible.

  • If you are a content provider or business, please respond to any inquiry if there are captioning problems.

Be responsive if there are captioning issues. Allow the  audience to give out feedback on how to improve your  captions in the future.

  • Speak up to promote quality captions.

Help do your part to speak out when captions are poor quality. Poor quality captions should never be accepted and improving the quality of captions is a must.


“We wouldn’t tolerate grainy pictures, sloppy camera work, poor audio quality, bad lighting. Why should we tolerate bad captioning?”Gary Robson

Poor quality captions  is an issue. Many people who use videos should be mindful to caption their videos properly. Youtube automatic closed captions should not be used as a substitute. Everyone (including the hearing) should encourage quality captions. This will help ensure that accessibility is available for everyone.


6 thoughts on “The Importance of Quality Captioning

  1. Great Information! One when publishing content an any form must keep a track of their work and captioning as like Phoenicia said it doesn't take much time for the audience to turn away from you.


  2. I am about to put out some videos dealing with my novel(once it is republished), I am now going to add captioning to it.
    This is not only the right thing to do, but I just potentially increased my audience. Thanks for providing this information.


  3. Great information! I was aware of the captioning option on YouTube but since I haven't used it the situation you describe is enlightening. And, I agree with Phoenicia about quickly moving on when the quality of a video (or the sound) is poor. Thanks!


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