Captioning and Transcription for STEM Content

September 21, 2018 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: March 13, 2024


What do science, technology, engineering, and mathematics all have in common?

Really, really tough words.

Organizations that publish STEM-related video content know this. Transcribing videos like lecture recordings of engineering and biology courses, or educational videos in science museums, is not exactly a cake-walk. That’s why these organizations should be very discerning when it comes to selecting a closed captioning solution for their videos.

There are, in fact, a number of things STEM content publishers have to consider before captioning their videos:

What is important to STEM content publishers?

  • Accuracy: Whichever transcription method is used, publishers want to make sure it is consistently accurate. This is especially true for any video content that contains difficult terms, industry-specific acronyms, or complex symbols and formulas that might be used in a high-level college mathematics course, for example.


  • Legal Compliance: A great deal of STEM content comes from higher education, government, and other industries that are legally required to make their video content accessible to people with disabilities. Federal laws in the United States, including the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, require these kinds of organizations to caption their videos. Many institutions have been sued for failing to caption or accurately caption their videos.
  • Workflow Optimization: If your organization publishes STEM content, it is likely that there are many other industry projects going on at the same time as this content is developed. Adding captions to videos needs to be an easy step in your organization’s video publishing workflow. Whichever captioning solution you choose, it should be as seamless and reliable as possible.

What are common challenges with captioning and transcribing STEM content?

  • Difficult Content: STEM content contains some of the most complex language in the world of video. A great deal of terminology used in the sciences can be quite difficult to accurately transcribe without in-depth knowledge about a very specific subject.


  • Speakers with Heavy Accents: The STEM fields are full of people from diverse backgrounds and not everyone is a native English speaker. For a transcriptionist, listening to a STEM-related course instructor with a non-native accent may require some extra time to understand what word was just said. For computerized transcription software, there’s a higher chance it will get the word wrong entirely, compared with a human editor.
  • Difficult Workflows: If you’re in the STEM field, you likely want to spend your time focusing on science, technology, engineering, or math, and not transcribing videos! Whoever is tasked with getting STEM content transcribed or captioned probably doesn’t have the time or interest to learn a complicated captioning workflow. There are many ways to caption content but some methods can involve a lot of time and effort.

Which vendor features are most desired for publishers of STEM content?

  • Cheat Sheets for Accuracy: 3Play Media allows users to upload a glossary of terms, or Cheat Sheet, to their accounts to help transcript editors caption their videos. Users can also describe best practices for transcribing spoken audio like equations and symbols used in mathematics and other STEM disciplines. This ensures transcript editors know exactly what it that they are transcribing and how to transcribe it properly and consistently.


  • Smart Transcriptionists: 3Play Media employs thousands of transcriptionists who are very well equipped to handle difficult STEM content. Our transcription assignment market is designed so that our editors, many of whom come from STEM backgrounds, can select the jobs themselves, allowing them the opportunity to choose content they feel competent and knowledgeable about. Thanks to our process and our brainy transcript editors, we can guarantee captions and transcripts that are 99%+ accurate.
  • Caption Editor: Although it’s rarely necessary, after your media files have been processed, you can easily edit your captions and translated subtitles using the editing interface in your account. Or, if you want to share the transcript with someone else for editing (without adding them to your account), you can use our Expiring Editing Link feature to temporarily give others access to your transcript before it’s published.


  • Video Player Integrations: We want your captioning process to be as simple as possible. That’s why we offer one-click solutions for most major video players and platforms to completely automate your captioning workflow.
  • Legal Compliance: Our captions comply with ADA Title III and Title II requirements, and standards established in Sections 508 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Interactive Transcript: Interactive transcripts allow users to search for keywords within the video’s transcript and click within the transcript to play from a certain word in the audio. This feature is especially helpful for students, especially when they want to review a specific piece of complex content from a lecture video. Because they are published on the same page as a video, interactive transcripts also boost SEO. This helps a great deal if you want your videos to reach a wider audience and spread more knowledge!


  • Competitive Pricing: We combine speech recognition technology with two levels of human editing and multiple turnaround options to provide high-quality captions at a low price point.

STEM Content Publishers Who Use 3Play Media


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Get started captioning and transcribing your STEM video content today!

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This blog was originally published on May 3, 2018 by Patrick Loftus and has since been updated.

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