How Do Organizations with $0 Captioning Budgets Caption Their Content?

May 30, 2019 BY 3MEDIAWEB
Updated: July 21, 2021

What do you do when you are required to caption your content but have a $0 captioning budget?

29% of organizations report having a $0 budget, yet 26% of these organizations are captioning all their content. How is this possible? 🤷

Using data from our 2019 State of Captioning survey, we’ll look into how these $0 budget organizations are making their content accessible.

Just How are $0 Captioning Budgets Organizations Captioning All Their Content?

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26% of organizations with $0 captioning budgets report that they caption all their video content. Alternatively, 46% report that they don’t caption any or only caption some of their content.

If one of the biggest barriers to captioning content is cost, how are these organizations making their video accessible?

Three words, 30 letters: automatically generated captions.

Most $0 captioning budget organizations are publishing their videos on YouTube, which provides users with free automatic captions.

But solely relying on YouTube’s automatic captions isn’t always a good idea, and luckily, 49% of these organizations agree.  Most of these organizations are generating automatic captions and then editing it themselves.  

At 3Play, we advocate for this mixed approach, especially if you use YouTube’s highly inaccurate automatic captions.

If you want to learn how to caption accurately caption your videos using YouTube, check out the blog DIY Workflows for Captioning and Transcription.

Word of Caution on Automatic Captions

If you frequent our blog, then you probably know how we feel about automatic captions. Automatic captions are highly inaccurate and inaccessible, so when using them, you have to be careful.

In 2015, both Harvard and MIT were sued for failure to provide accurate and comprehensive captioning for online courses; they were relying on YouTube’s automatic captions.

While automatic captions are fast and cheap, they are drenched with grammar and punctuation errors. Incomprehensible captions are not accessible because they directly impact the meaning and intent of the content. For viewers, this often means they are left confused or misinformed.

Inaccurate captions also hurt your brand. A UK study uncovered that what damages a customer’s view of a brand is “poor spelling or grammar.” Grammar errors hurt your credibility.

If you use automatic captions, always take the time to edit your captions. Or you can use a third-party captioning service.


Creative Ways to Create a Captioning Budget

If you are within the group of $0 captioning budget organizations, here are three ways you can begin to fund a budget.

1. Create a captioning grant from student fees 👨‍🎓

NC State funds their captioning efforts by adding a small fee within student’s tuitions solely allocated for captioning videos.

Inserting a caption fee will help provide captions to benefit all students.

98.6% of students report that they find captions helpful.

Captions help clarify spoken content and complicated information. They are helpful for people learning a new language. In fact, 66% of ESL students say that captions are very or extremely helpful.

2. Find lined items in other budgets that can be used for captioning 🧾
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Many organizations allocate budgets for their departments to cover services and supplies. While captioning may not be specifically named, it can certainly fit as a service under the needs of these budgets.

3. Use leftover funds at the end of a fiscal year 💰

If you have leftover funds, why not add them to your captioning account as a credit for next year?

Pro tip: If you use 3Play Media, you can add pre-paid funds to your account. It works just like a credit.

Once you create a budget, make sure to create clear captioning guidelines that outline how captioning budgets should be used.

Could Centralizing Captioning Help Increase Captioning and Captioning Budgets?

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42% of organizations with $0 captioning budgets say they don’t have a clear policy for captioning compliance. 47% also report that there isn’t even a process for centralizing captioning in the works.

There are many benefits to centralizing captioning like creating greater awareness of the need/benefits of captioning. It also helps with understanding and creating a captioning budget for the organizations to use.

Captioning in-house can be time-consuming. While it’s technically “free,” it has been shown that it can be even more expensive than using a captioning vendor because you are using employee time. (In fact, among the group of $0 captioning budget organizations, resource and time was the #1 barrier to captioning.)

Learn how you can centralize video accessibility efforts at your organization.

get started with 3play media to save time and money on captioning

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