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Captioning and Transcription

Captioning is a process for displaying text on screen that represents the audio found within any given media. Captioning is primarily used to provide alternatives for deaf and hard of hearing communities, but their utility extends to the general public as well. In fact, 80 percent of people who use captions are not from the deaf or hard of hearing communities. Studies show that the use of captions with media improve literacy levels and comprehension.


Closed captioning (CC) is a text version of spoken dialogue in media that can be turned off and on by the viewer. Open captioning (OC) is a text version of spoken dialogue in media that are always in view and cannot be turned off. Live Captioning is a text version of spoken dialogue in media transcribed in real-time during a live event.

Captions, in large part due to broadcast regulation, are commonly found on programming whether on television or the Internet. The CRTC has established rules regarding captions in English, outlining there must be 100 percent captioning in programming between 6 a.m. and midnight, ensuring there are captions for advertising, promotions and sponsorship. Additionally, there must be 100 percent accuracy levels, including correct spelling, between captions and audio for all pre-recorded programs, and 95 percent accuracy rate for live captioning.


Subtitles refer to the translation of media into another language such as foreign films.


Transcription is a verbatim text representation of a given media production. All pertinent portions of the original media should be conveyed through the transcript, including dialogue, sound effects and music. Transcriptions are particularly useful for the deafblind community and, when used on the Internet, it can also provide search engine optimization benefits.

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