The difference between captions and transcripts

In a recent post from ODEE, Getting started with captions (, some of the benefits of captioning videos and some ways to get started adding captions to videos are presented. This post adds some information on another option for supplementing videos through the use of transcripts.

How is a transcript different from captions? Captions appear onscreen simultaneously with the audio and video, and follows the same timing. It exists within the video player, and generally speaking, can’t be referenced outside of the video. A transcript is the same word-for-word content as captions, but presented in a separate document, whether it is a text file, word processing document, PDF, or web page. The transcript of a video could easily be generated from a script, if the video was scripted before production. If the video was not scripted, then the same process of transcribing the audio from the video into typed words is required.

A transcript can also be time indexed, or simply text. A time indexed transcript can be used to generate captions for a video. It contains a discrete unit of time and the spoken audio that occurs within that time frame, very similar to a caption.

Both captioning and providing transcripts allow viewers to access content from a video by alternate formats, which, in learning environments, adds to a resource’s accessibility requirements as well as supporting universal design for learning (UDL).

Transcripts in YouTube

Captions in YouTube