Captioning FAQ

What is captioning?
Captioning is a text display of spoken words and sound effects on a television or movie screen or online video (i.e., youtube).

What are the benefits of captioning?
Captioning allows the Deaf or hard of hearing student access to the spoken language and the sound effects of a film. Even though the Deaf or hard of hearing student may have an interpreter or transcriber in class, it is impossible to watch the interpreter/transcriber and the film at the same time.
Captions benefit many other students as well. Students for whom English is a second language often understand English better when they can hear and read it. For individuals with learning disabilities, being able to both hear and read at the same time can improve comprehension.
Students who do not have a disability also benefit from captions, especially when it comes to learning new and unfamiliar vocabulary or concepts. In addition, noisy classrooms or background noise, especially in large classrooms, can interfere with the student’s ability to hear the film. If any information is missed aurally, the student can obtain this information from the captions.

What is the difference between closed and open-captioning?
Closed-captions can be displayed only with the use of a caption decoder. On some films, they must be turned on with the DVD menu. Most UVM classrooms do not have caption decoders. They must be installed by Media Services.
Open-captions can be displayed with no extra equipment. Open captions are written onto the film and cannot be turned off. ACCESS always requests open captions when sending a film for captioning.

What is the difference between captioning and subtitling?
Captioning not only captures the spoken dialogue, but it also conveys various sound effects (i.e., knocking on door, phone ringing,) whereas subtitling only captures the spoken conversation with no sound effects. However, some DVDs have subtitles that include sound effects. These are usually found on the DVD menu labeled as SDH or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

How do I know if my videos are captioned?
Most commercial videotapes and DVDs will either state on the packaging or box that they are closed-captioned or they will be stamped with one of the following icons:
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If you have a DVD, you can check the DVD menu to see if SDH or English subtitles are available. This is sometimes but not always displayed on film’s packaging.

Where can I reserve a closed-caption decoder?
Contact Media Services 656-1952. Please give Media Services at least 1 week’s notice.

My video(s) are not captioned. How can I get them captioned?
Fill out the online captioning request form:

I have questions about captioning. Where can I find some answers?