Captioning and Transcribing Video and Audio Recordings

This page introduces the tools available to JMU faculty and staff for transcribing video and audio recordings and creating subtitle files for captioned videos. For personalized support, submit a media production consultation request

We strongly recommended that all faculty create transcripts of their instructional videos so that students with inadequate internet access, hearing impairments, or different learning styles can access the content.

However, faculty are required to create captions/transcripts for their video only if a student in their class has registered with JMU’s Office of Disability Services (ODS) and has a captioning accommodation.

Find more information about captioning from ODS or visit the ODS website for additional resources for faculty.

Recommended workflow for creating captions/transcripts

  1. Script your lecture. This will make creating transcripts/captions easier.
  2. Ensure your recording space is properly set up for high-quality audio/video capture.
  3. Record your lecture.
  4. Generate captions/transcript and correct errors (more info below).
  5. Embed your video in Canvas.
  6. Upload the corresponding script in Canvas alongside the video.

Terminology related to captioning and transcribing

  • “Transcript”
    • Translating a video’s audio into text.
    • Basic text file that a user can read apart from the video file.
  • “Closed Captions”
    • Captions that can be turned on and off by viewer.
    • Captions that are stored in a subtitle file that can be easily modified.
  • “Open Captions”
    • Captions that are always on. They are part of the video picture and cannot be turned off.
    • Because “open captions” are part of the picture, if a text in a caption has to be changed, the whole video has to be edited and re-uploaded.
  • “Subtitle File”
    • File that contains captions text and timing information so captions appear with proper audio, etc.
    • Subtitle files are supplements to the video file.
    • SRT is the most common subtitle file format. SRT is short for SubRip Subtitle File.
    • SRT files can be easily edited with a text editor.

Tools for creating caption or transcription files: Zoom, Knowmia, YouTube, and Otter.ai


Zoom for captioning or transcribing:

Techsmith Knowmia for captioning or transcribing:

YouTube for captioning or transcribing:

Otter.ai for captioning or transcribing:

  • JMU does not officially support the use of Otter.ai.
  • Free Otter.ai accounts are limited in their capabilities. A paid account is required to generate subtitle files. 
  • Excellent for transcribing audio interviews or lectures with multiple speakers.
  • Speech recognition performance is more advanced than other options.
  • Mobile phone app allows for easy recording of audio lectures, conversations, interviews, etc., with immediate upload/processing.
  • Find tips for using Otter.ai at the Otter.ai help center.