“Could you please add captions?”
If you have published any videos online, you may have seen this question in the comments. Many churches are posting sermons, church services, or devotional videos to their websites and apps.
This is a great way to spread the gospel. But without captions, it can also be a way to alienate deaf and hard of hearing people who need to hear the message of Christ’s forgiveness.
After WELS Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MDHH) received that comment on some videos we shared last year, we decided that any content we post will be captioned. The committee is also committed to assisting others in the synod with captioning their content.
“Why should I add captions?”
- Deaf people will have access to the gospel.
- Hard of hearing people can more easily hear the Word of God.
- People learning English can more easily follow the message.
- Captions increase watch time, especially on Facebook. Many people don’t turn on the sound for videos anymore, and will quickly scroll past a video they can’t understand without sound. If there are captions, users are more likely to watch longer and receive more of the message.
“Okay. I get it. I should add captions. But I don’t know how.”
Thankfully, it’s become much easier, and there are many tools to help.
- Use auto-generated captions. Both YouTube and Facebook have tools to create automatic captions. These are not always accurate, but are better than nothing, especially if the speaker is clear.
- Write your own. Both YouTube and Facebook have a built-in editor where you can type in your own captions fairly easily. You can then download the file to upload it in other places (if you post your video to both Facebook and Vimeo, for example).
- Use a captioning service. Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has been using Rev.com for the last few months with great success. The captions cost $1.25 per minute of video, have a fast turn-around (24 hours or less), and are high-quality, accurate captions.
“I’m still not sure how to create captions or upload them.”
- Google it. “How to create/upload captions to Facebook/Vimeo/YouTube/[insert option here]” will give you step-by-step instructions on how to create or upload captions to any service you might be using to host your videos.
- If you need further assistance, message us at facebook.com/wels.mdhh or e-mail us at MDHH@wels.net. We want to help you make your videos more accessible!
If you already caption your video content, please let us know. We’d love to share it on our Facebook page and let people know when they inquire about captioned resources.
Monica Brandt has a degree in American Sign Language. She serves with the Mission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and interprets for her church, Prince of Peace, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Learn about the ministry work of WELS Special Ministries.
Support the ministry work of WELS Special Ministries.