Captions for Videos and Live Events

Video Captioning Tools and Software

Image: Video captioning software.


In this section, we will familiarize ourselves with some of the ways you can caption video yourself. Some of these methods are online and web-based and others are software you can download and install onto your computer. Most software comes with a free trial so you can experiment before you purchase the product. There are also a number of companies that provide captioning services with pricing and turnaround times that vary.

Developing an Understanding:

Captioning software is designed to let you import transcriptions, edit text into captions, correct existing captions and format captions clearly onscreen to sync up with the video content. It is important to note that you can only transcribe and caption video that you have made. It is copyright infringement to transcribe and caption other videos without permission from the owner of the video.

Deepening Your Understanding

There are a number of tools you can use to support the captioning process. Here are a few that are free and easy to use.

youtube logo

YouTube uses speech recognition technology to automatically create captions for your videos. These automatic captions are generated by machine learning algorithms, so the quality of the captions may vary due to mispronunciations, accents, dialects, poor audio quality and background noise. You can fix the captions by playing the video and correcting the automatic captions in the caption track panel. If necessary, you can also adjust when the caption starts and ends by dragging the borders around the text in this panel. You can also caption your own videos from start to finish. Note that in this video, they refer to the captions as subtitles (YouTube Help, 2017).

Amara Logo

Amara is a free web-based program where you can create captions, subtitles and translations that are free and easy to do. Amara also hosts an on-line community and you can volunteer for a team to caption or translate videos for other people. Amara offers professional services that will caption, make your videos accessible and searchable and prepare the content for translation into other languages. You can also subtitle your video in a number of languages including Albanian, Dutch, Persian, Vietnamese and many more. Note that Amara uses the term ‘subtitles’ for both captions and subtitles (Amara, 2017).

Each of the following software has a 14-day free trial. License fees vary.

Inqscribe Logo

InqScribeopen new window is easy to use and offers a 14-day free trial. Full licenses are at $99.00.

Telestream Logo

MacCaption and CaptionMakeropen new window are available for a free trial. A full license starts at $1,095.00.

Movie Captioner Logo

MovieCaptioneropen new window offers a free 14-day trial and can be purchased for $129.95 US.