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Captions and transcripts benefit everyone. Transcripts mean easier production of subtitles in a number of languages and also improve the indexing of online content.

Improved indexing means improved search engine optimisation and discoverability of government online content.

  • Why it's important

    • Sudo is hearing-impaired and cannot rely on audio.
    • Mia is a non-native English speaker and has difficulty understanding video.
    • Lyla-Mae is watching a video but cannot listen to the audio due to being in a teleconference.

Steps to take

  1. Start with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) video captions perspective page, it provides a great guide to best practice layout for embedded video, captions and an HTML transcript. W3C use Able Player for their embedded videos, YouTube is also a good option. Speak with your developer if you need help.
  2. Read the Australian Government Content Guide on types of content video and video accessibility.
    • For audio-only content: such a podcast, provide a transcript.
    • For audio and visual content: such as training videos, also provide captions. Include in the transcripts and captions the spoken information and sounds that are important for understanding the content. For example, ‘the Minister's phone starts ringing’.
    • For video transcripts: also include a description of the important visual content. For example ‘the Minister enters the room’.
    • For pre-recorded video: (health and safety and compliance information, or situations). The Australian Government recommends the inclusion of Auslan.
  3. Make sure video captions synchronise to appear around the same time that they would be heard in the audio. Accurate captions must be provided so don’t rely 100% on auto-captioning or auto-transcript options. A good starting point is a production script or services like rev.com.
  4. To make video or audio transcripts available, link to it from the same place you link to or display your video or audio file.

Supporting resource

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines


Published by: Digital Citizen Services
Last update: 30 April 2019, first published

Content on this page published with acknowledgement.