Using captions

What are captions?

Benefits of Captions infographic

Captions are the on-screen, text version of a video soundtrack, including dialogue, sounds and music, on TV programs, DVDs, online videos and at the cinema or theatre. Similar to subtitles for foreign language films, captions generally appear at the bottom of a screen.

Captions have benefits for all students, particularly those who are Deaf or hearing impaired, speak English as an Additional Language/Dialect, struggling readers and those with learning disabilities.

Captions can either be turned on or off as desired (closed captions), or they are included on a video so that they automatically appear on a screen (open captions). Closed captions are more common in Australia.

In some cases, captions are positioned to show which character is speaking or where the sound is coming from. Different coloured text may also be used to distinguish between sounds.

Using captions

  • Source captioned content
  • Caption student-produced media
  • Support caption use across the school
  • Supply caption-enabled equipment
  • Avoid poor quality captions
  • Make sure everyone can see the screen properly

An increasing number of DVDs, TV programs and online videos in Australia provide captions. Learn how to find content with captions and turn captions on.