Stream auto-captions: how accurate do they need to be? Are you making effective use of the Stream caption editor?
Whilst checking auto-captions for accuracy is important, you also want to make best use of your time for the maximum benefit of your students. W3C say that “Automatically-generated captions do not meet user needs or accessibility requirements, unless they are confirmed to be fully accurate. Usually they need significant editing.”
The following tips provide a quick summary regarding considerations around accuracy, and may improve your experience when dealing with auto-caption editing. Further detail can be found in the CQSD toolkit pages.
Quick links in this article:
- What type of edits should I make in the Stream caption editor?
- Should students expect high levels of accuracy in auto-captions?
- What if I require extensive caption editing or a high level of accuracy in my captions?
- Can I create an alternative format using the Stream auto-generated captions?
- Can I improve the accuracy of auto-generated captions through my recording techniques?
- Can I switch off captions?
1.What type of edits should I make in the Stream caption editor?
The Stream caption editor is designed for ‘light touch’ edits to auto-captions, so it is advisable to focus on correcting subject specific language and critical phrases for understanding a topic.
Tips when using the Stream caption editor:
- Play the video from the beginning, with captions on, looking for errors
- Pause the video and edit the error in the side-window
- Save and resume, and continue watching the captions for errors
- Use ‘Search’ to surface all timecodes containing a specific inaccuracy for editing, for example, an inaccurate spelling that has been repeated throughout the video captions. Be aware that this may highlight correct uses of the search term.
2. Should students expect high levels of accuracy in auto-captions?
Automatic captions don’t need to be 100% accurate for students to be able to engage with them, however, inaccuracies may lead to misunderstanding, particularly where students are using auto-captions as an alternative format to audio. Manage your own and student expectations around accuracy; auto-captions aren’t the same as subtitling, live caption editing or professionally authored transcripts. It may be worth engaging students in a discussion about the usefulness of auto-captions in your video content;
- Highlight their availability and the optional display settings.
- Get feedback from students about significant captioning errors worth correcting.
- Signpost the purpose of auto-captions (an aid to understanding, not intended to wholly substitute audio accuracy as an alternative format). Where a high level of accuracy is required, use the tips in this article to extract Stream auto-captions for editing in other applications.
If the “caption” does not include all of the dialogue (either verbatim or in essence) as well as all important sounds then it is not a true alternative format.
3. What if I require extensive caption editing or a high level of accuracy in my captions?
For more detailed caption editing; where a high level of accuracy is required, the inaccuracies prevent students understanding what’s happening or situations where you need to make repeat corrections of the same word throughout a video;
- Download the Stream ‘transcript’ file to make edits (do not change the timecodes in the file).
- Open with a text editor, such as Notepad, and use a ‘Find and replace‘ function to quickly locate and replace terms. Mac users can open with TextEdit and make use of the inbuilt ‘Find and replace’ function. Be aware that this may also highlight correct uses of the search term and should be used with caution.
- Consider creating a glossary of keywords if you find they are frequently misinterpreted by auto-captions.
4. Can I create an alternative format using the Stream auto-generated captions?
5. Can I improve the accuracy of auto-generated captions through my recording techniques?
There can be several reasons for inaccurate captions but ensuring the clear quality of audio can help improve them. Use a headset or other external mic when recording, speak clearly at an even pace and ensure there is no background noise when recording.
6. Can I disable auto-captions?
It is not advisable to disable Stream auto-captions; they offer students flexibility when engaging with video content. Keep in mind captions benefit many students in a variety of situations, not just those with a registered accessibility need.
- Students can toggle Stream auto-captions on and off when viewing videos.
- If you require captions to be disabled, you can still download the caption file for editing, to create an alternative format for compliance with accessibility regulations. To find out more and further advice read the CQSD guidance on alternative formats and captioning videos