Video Closed Captions

Michigan Technological University is dedicated to providing equal access opportunities for all students, employees, and members of the public to University information and communication technologies (ICT)—including video.

University Marketing and Communications (UMC) supports Policy 1.15 by requiring that all video content posted to the Michigan Tech YouTube account or public webpages includes closed captions and—where necessary—audio descriptions.

UMC manages acquiring captioning services for projects we lead. Rare exceptions may occur for especially long videos or videos with complex visual content that is not spoken.

With our large following on YouTube, we often receive requests to post videos created by others. We are able to do so when the content meets our brand standards and timed captions are provided in an SRT/VTT file. Please ensure that provided captions are at least 95% accurate.

Note that an SRT/VTT file is not the same as a transcript. Time stamps are necessary to display words on screen using the proper timing.

Creating Caption Files

There are a few different methods to create or acquire captions for your video projects.

Vendor Led Projects

Departments or groups using a video content vendor can build the captioning requirement into their contract. You or your vendor can submit your MP4 and caption file.

Caption Self-Creation

Departments or groups can create their own caption file using a program that syncs the transcript (spoken and visual content that you input or import) with the appropriate timing in your video.


The subtitles editor in YouTube is a popular and free option. Video creators can set up a free YouTube account, make their video content private, and use YouTube's subtitles editor to create closed captions or add timing to an existing untimed transcript file.

In some cases, when the audio in your video is clear and the pacing is reasonable, using YouTube's auto-generated closed captions may be a great starting point. Make sure to review and edit auto-generated closed captions to correct timing, punctuation, and wording. Auto-generated closed captions without human correction do not meet the legal requirement for accessibility. Please ensure that provided captions are at least 95% accurate.

Once your captions are accurately crafted and timed, you can download the SRT/VTT file to provide to UMC:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Subtitles.
  3. For the language you'd like to use, hover your mouse in the Subtitles column, click the vertical ellipsis (Options), and then select Download -->.
  4. Choose .srt or .vtt and your download will begin.
  5. Submit your caption file


If you are creating video content using Zoom, you can use certain settings to automatically generate captions (called audio transcription in Zoom). Remember that you must review and correct any mistakes and add any missing visual content yourself. Once your cloud recording and audio transcription is done processing and is corrected, download and submit your MP4 and caption file.

Other Captioning Software

While our experiences are limited to using YouTube, other closed captioning software is available online or for download.


Departments and groups can outsource their captioning needs. For example, UMC uses a third-party captioning vendor—3Play Media—to generate closed captions and audio descriptions. Prices vary, but usually include a base fee of a couple dollars plus a set fee per minute of video footage. Turnaround time can vary from days to weeks and a quicker turnaround increases the cost. YouTube notes a few other popular captioning vendors. Download and submit your MP4 and caption file.

UMC Creation

If you or your vendor is unable to provide the SRT or VTT file, UMC can process the captioning for you through our account with a third-party vendor. Prices are approximate and can change without notice. Your department account will be charged the actual costs according to the vendor invoice plus a $50 design fee. Request closed captions for a video to be posted on the University's YouTube channel.

UMC-Managed Caption Pricing
Service Name Turnaround Speed Cost per Minute
Standard Four Business Days $2.50
Expedited Two Business Days $3.25
Rush Next Day $4.00
  • The vendor charges for 1 minute minimum.
  • Final cost will be the total cost per minute charged by the vendor plus $50.
  • Speeds indicated is the vendor turnaround and does not account for UMC staff availability to process the request.
  • Additional surcharges of $1.00 per minute may be charged for difficult audio.
  • Additional surcharges of $9.00 per minute may be charged for audio descriptions.
  • Prices are subject to change by our captions vendor without notice.

Request Captions