Accessibility news – live captioning in Chrome

28 April 2021

Captioning’s useful for all sorts of reasons – whether you’re D/deaf, have English as an additional language, or you have sound muted by default.

Captions can be added in various ways, and through various services. Adding them manually's the most accurate, and more likely to be indexed by search engines, but is time-consuming. We quite like YouTube as it creates captions for you – which can then be manually edited, to correct the sometimes amusing mishearings – aka 'craptions'.

For instant captioning of video and audio files though, Google's rolled-out real-time captioning to current versions of the Chrome browser on desktop. (It’s also available on some Android devices.)

It's not perfect, but could be useful for your audiences – so this might be a handy resource to add to the Accessibility section of your website:

How to activate Live Captions in Chrome

  • In your Chrome browser select Chrome Settings (PC) or About Google Chrome (Mac) > Advanced > Accessibility
  • Toggle ‘Live Caption’ on. The first time you switch it on, Chrome downloads speech recognition data, so the browser can add captions instantly.
  • Live captions will now appear whenever there's audio content on the page.

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