Everything You Need to Know About Captioning Training Videos

October 22, 2018 BY SOFIA ENAMORADO
Updated: July 3, 2019

Training videos have become a popular method for companies all over the world to educate their staff.

Not only are they cost-effective, but training videos are also engaging and extremely versatile.

No matter how you are creating training videos – whether they are animated or lecture style – captioning your training videos will reap even greater returns for your employees and your organization.

Do you have to legally caption training videos?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires private companies to caption their content. This includes public-facing videos, training videos, video tutorials, and video used for internal communications.

Company training videos must be accessible as required under Title I and Title II of the ADA.

Title I of the ADA prohibits employers and government agencies from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of a disability. Title I covers all aspects of a job including job training.

Undue hardship means significant difficulty or expense. It can be a financial difficulty or an accommodation that significantly alters the nature or operation of the business.

Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities from refusing to accommodate people with disabilities and must provide the necessary aids to ensure equal access.

Under the ADA, employers must make the necessary accommodations for their employees, as long as these accommodations do not impose “undue hardship” to the business.

FedEx lawsuit & training videos

In 2014, FedEx was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for failing to provide captions and sign language interpreters for in-person training and training videos in the following situations:


  • Mandatory initial tour of facilities
  • New-hire orientation applicants
  • Staff meetings
  • Performance meetings
  • Safety meetings

This was a clear violation of the ADA, and the courts agreed.

With an annual revenue well into the billions, FedEx was unable to prove an “undue burden” to the company. When FedEx filed a motion to dismiss the case, a federal judge denied the motion.

While the case still remains in litigation, it proves the importance of creating an inclusive environment at your company and the repercussions that can come from not doing so.

In order to make training videos accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, you must add captions.

What are the benefits to captioning training videos?

There are many reasons why companies are opting to caption their training videos.

1. Accessibility

The most obvious benefits of captioning is for accessibility. Providing accessible company training videos is not only legally required, but ethically important.

62% of employees with a disability have an invisible disability or a disability that one cannot immediately identify upon meeting a person.

Hearing loss is often an invisible disability in the workplace. Captioning training videos will ensure that deaf or hard of hearing employees receive an equal level of training as other employees.

2. Engagement

goldfish in a tank

Humans have an attention span of 8 seconds, which is actually a second shorter than a goldfish’s attention span.

While training videos can be highly engaging, sometimes it’s harder to capture a person’s attention with just video.

So how do you retain employee attention? You use captions! Captions help to reiterate and the clarify information for your audience. In fact, a research study by the University of Iowa found that people recalled information better after seeing and hearing it.

3. Translations

If you work for a global company, it can be both time consuming and expensive to have to recreate videos in different languages.

One quick workaround is to simply translate your content. With captions, you can easily do this.

Tools to make training videos more engaging

When you caption your videos, you make it easier to translate, create derivative content, and use tools like the interactive transcript and playlist search.

What is the interactive transcript?

The interactive transcript allows users to search for keywords in a transcript, then jump to the specific spot where the keyword is mentioned in the video. It creates a completely interactive viewing experience for your user.

In a study by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, students who used the interactive transcript saw their final score improve by twice as much.

Demonstrating Playlist Search

What is playlist search?

Playlist search allows users to search for a keyword throughout the whole video library. So if a user is searching for training videos about employee conduct, they can simply type that into the search bar and every video that talks about employee conduct will populate.

Playlist search makes it easier for your employees to customize their experience and more efficiently find the videos they need to watch.
Case Study: OracleOracle University offers both online and offline training programs to help customers and employees adapt to Oracle technology. Oracle captions 100% of their training online videos. They've noticed an improvement in engagement, better comprehension for non-native English speakers, and greater flexibility for their viewers. Oracle notes that the 7% increase in overall production cost is worth the extra value the transcripts provide.

How to get started with captioning

So you are convinced, you need to start captioning your training videos, and you need to start captioning them now!

There are two ways you can get your videos captioned: do-it-yourself or hire a professional captioning service.

If you opt to do it yourself, know that it can be a very time consuming process, especially if you are creating a lot of training videos.

Use automatic speech recognition software to help speed up the process of captioning. Simply make sure to edit those captions as they can be highly inaccurate.

While budget can sometimes be a barrier to captioning videos, hiring a professional captioning company can prove to be a cost-effective and more efficient solution.

What videos should I caption? requested videos, high-profile videos, public facing videos, mandatory videos, onboarding videos, popular videos

It’s important to choose a vendor that can handle your volume of content, the difficulty of your content, and can simplify your workflow.

At the end of the day, captioning your videos will reap a greater return. Whether you do-it-yourself or hire a vendor, you are contributing to greater inclusivity in the workplace.

Want to create accessible training videos? Click below to get started!

Get Started Today! Or Learn more about 3Play Media's transcription services.

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