Captions guide for virtual platform facilitation

The Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE) created this guide to support our community in having more accessible online content in April 2021. CJE is proud to be an agency of the Associated Jewish Federation of Baltimore. We designed this guide to support Baltimore institutions. We also feel the wider Jewish world can benefit from our work. Please write us if you have questions or suggestions.

Accessibility Accommodations at Virtual Events

for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Providing accommodations is an embodiment of our Jewish values of respect for all people, and a way to welcome everyone who would benefit from the programming you are doing. CJE’s work to caption many of our programs has helped us to better welcome people who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a learning disability or are visual learners. We know that many institutions plan to continue offering virtual options even after in-person programming returns. We hope this guide will help support your work in welcoming participants looking to access your content.

#1 You can help participants to feel welcome by adding an inclusion statement on the promotional materials for your events. Here is the statement CJE uses: "We welcome participants of ALL abilities. If you need any ADA accommodations, including an oral or ASL interpreter, please contact..."

TIP: CJE is available to make suggestions regarding accommodations requests.

TIP: Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education (JADE) offers funding through the Access Fund, to increase accessibility through interpreters and captioning.



Consider engaging an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter at your live events if people who use ASL will be in attendance. Captions should still be enabled.


If the presenter is using spoken English, spotlight the presenter and the ASL interpreter.

If the presenter is signing (ASL), the interpreter will voice for the presenter. Spotlight the presenter only.

Indicate to the participants that they can choose whom to Pin, overriding the Spotlight.

If a signing participant wants to ask a question, they let the speaker know with a raised hand or by sending a message in the chat box. The host should spotlight the questioner. The interpreter will voice for the signing participant. If the questioner is speaking, be sure the spotlight is still on the interpreter. For more specific guidance, contact CJE.

CAPTIONS: These can be computer generated or created by human captionists. Often auto-generated captions are riddled with errors. While they offer a level of support, they should not be considered an ideal solution.

Auto-captions: Captions are available in most conferencing platforms.

Zoom - For paid accounts, captions are universally available. If you are using a free Zoom account you can request captioning. Zoom has announced that in fall 2021 all accounts be able to access this feature. The captioning settings must be selected before the meeting starts.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal
  1. In the navigation panel, click Account Management then Account Settings.
  1. Click the Meeting tab.
  1. Verify that Closed Caption is enabled.
  1. If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog displays, click Turn On to verify the change.
  1. (Optional) If you want to make this setting mandatory for all users in your account, click the lock icon, and then click Lock to confirm the setting.
  1. Look for the “Live Transcript” option because that clicks it all on

Human Captions:

If the participant or the organizations is in Maryland, request Remote Conference Captions, live captions from Maryland Relay at least 24 hours in advance. There are several other states that offer this service as well.

At the start of the Zoom meeting, click on Participants and give captioner authority to caption.

More information is available here: The transcript can be saved.

It is also possible to hire a third-party captioning service.

For special events, you may want to consider using CART (Computer Aided Real Time Transcription). This is expensive and must be planned well in advance.

TIP: It is very helpful to provide names and other specialized vocabulary to the captionist in advance.

TIP: At the beginning of the meeting, explain to all the attendees how to turn the closed captions on and off.


Caption files can be added to videos. They can be created by a vendor for a fee, or created by volunteers. JADE conducts trainings for volunteers and professionals. We have a small pool of volunteers and can sometimes find someone to assist organizations. The use of Hebrew or other foreign languages must be considered when making the decision how to create captions. The CJE has developed an instruction sheet for creating accurate captions, and is available upon request.


Auto-captions will be added automatically, but are inaccurate, and often not suitable for use.

It is important to note that if you download a YouTube video that has captions, the captions will NOT be available on the downloaded version. If you need to do this, please contact Martha Goodman [email protected]


Caption files can be added. Captions can be created by an outside firm, or created in YouTube as above, and then added to the Vimeo video.

“You can add captions or subtitles to your video on the Distribution tab, Subtitles section of your video settings. To upload a captions or subtitles file, click the “+” button, specify the language, and tell us whether it’s a caption or subtitle file. Then click Choose File and upload the file from your computer. Once the file is uploaded, you’ll need to toggle it on to activate it. To replace, delete, download, or edit the file, click on the three dots next to the file name and select the corresponding option from the menu.”

TIP: Email the flyer to Yael to help promote it among the Jewish Deaf and hard of hearing community.

TIP: Be sure to let your general audience know by adding a line like this to your PR materials: This event will be interpreted in ASL. OR This event will have closed captioning.

JADE does not have firsthand experience with adding captions on the following platforms. We have attached the posted directions for your reference.


Step 1: Install "Threads from Instagram".

Step 2: Open the app. When you open Video Notes, click "Try It" to see it in action.

Step 3: Record a video while you speak and wait a few seconds for the automatic captioning to appear.


You can add captions to your Page's video to make it accessible to a broader audience. You can automatically generate captions and edit them, write them yourself or you can upload an .srt file. To add captions to your Page's video:

  1. From your News Feed, click Pages in the left menu.
  1. Go to your Page.
  1. Click Photo/Video at the top of your Page's timeline, then select a video from your computer.
  1. Once your video has uploaded, click Subtitles & Captions(CC) in the column on the right.
  1. Once your video has finished uploading, select whether you'd like to auto-generate captions, write them yourself or upload a SubRip (.srt) file.
  1. Click Next, then click Publish.

If you choose to upload a .srt file, make sure that your caption files are correctly named and formatted before you upload them.

To add captions to an existing video on your Page, find the post on your Page's timeline, click in the top-right corner, select Edit Post and follow the steps above.

Note: People who watch your Page's video with the sound turned off will automatically see captions. People who watch your video with the sound turned on will need to turn on captions to see them. The language people see captions in is determined by their preferred language.