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    Captioning Complex Subjects and Specialized Content

    By: Aylin Dunham
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    Closed Captioning for complex subjects, technical material, scientific content, research data, and uncommon terminology.

    Why quality matters

    Accuracy is critical in captioning for many reasons. Inaccurate captions do not provide equal access to those with disabilities. Educational content with poorly created captions does not help the student. Errors in captioning can reflect poorly on your organization’s reputation. The problem is, when it comes to captioning complex subjects and technical content, accuracy can be a challenge. That’s why it’s crucial that you choose a captioning company that has the experience and expertise to create high quality captions in cases of difficult or specialized subject matter.

    Transcriber expertise

    Quality captions start with the transcriber. This is why AST hires transcribers with specialized subject-matter expertise in addition to general captioning expertise. Having prior knowledge of the subject being transcribed can easily mean the difference between a 98% or lower accuracy rate and a 99.9+% accuracy rate. Captioning technical and advanced material requires more knowledge than just a list of terms or spellings, which is why specialized transcribers are necessary to reach the desired level of accuracy.  

    AST provides transcriber expertise in all of the following subjects:

    • Medicine
    • Technical/Computers
    • Sciences (Physics, Biology, Chemistry)
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice/Law
    • Information Technology
    • Economics
    • Astronomy
    • Finance/insurance

    Guidance and notes

    The next step to ensure quality captioning for difficult subjects is giving the transcribers information that can help them reach higher accuracy. Submitting a glossary of terms is helpful to our transcribers, but in cases of complex subjects, there are also other helpful materials you can provide. Any relevant extra content improves the capability of the transcriber to provide the correct spelling or terminology and avoid errors. For class lectures and presentations, submit a video file rather than just the audio so the transcriber can watch and have a better understanding of the context. You can provide more information by linking to material such as a class syllabus or presentation slides. If you have extra content you would like to provide that is not online, feel free to email it to us, along with the job ID (send to

    How to include guidance

    CaptionSync allows user to submit guidance a few different ways. First, you can provide notes or special instruction for the transcriber when you make each submission in the “transcriber guidence” box. These notes can include information relevant specifically to the content you’re submitting at that time. If you will be submitting future content on the same subject or course, you can add “persistent notes” to your CaptionSync account which will automatically be attached to all your submissions so you don’t have to repeat the notes each time you make a submission. If needed, information can also be emailed to

    Narrow transcription pool

    For highly specialized content, when making a submission you have the option to select a subject matter which will route your job to a transcriber with that type of expertise. This can improve results for content that is technical and requires special training, such as such as medical, mathematical, or scientific content. All our professional transcribers are very qualified, so only choose this option if your content is especially complex. Choosing this option limit the transcriber pool and may result in longer turnaround times.

    If you have any questions about whether AST is able to provide quality captioning results for your complex content, please reach out to us!