Captioning and Community –

amara logo

There are many tools related to captioning digital media, and Amara is an amazing example of captioning technology that inspires and supports a passionate community of inclusive media enthusiasts.

What is Amara?

Amara is both a captioning tool and a captioning service, and before we go any further, let me just say I am not getting paid or compensated in any way for this post.

Amara enables you to caption web-based video, which makes Amara the solution when you are wanting to use someone else’s uncaptioned video in your class. With Amara, you can caption web-based video for the good of the entire Internet community.

Speaking of community, if you’re lucky, that community might help you caption the videos you want to use – for free!

Amara as a Captioning Tool is the website where you can create captions/subtitles for web-based video, for free. Using their award-winning captioning tools, you can caption the video completely within your browser. No installation required.

When you are finished, your captioning work will become part of the ever-growing library of captioned media hosted by

You’re literally making the Internet more accessible when you do this.

If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that pays for Amara’s premium tools, then you get the benefit of collaboration tools and enhanced support as well. I hear it’s pretty nice…

Amara as Captioning Service

Of course, my first rule for captioning is “If you can pay someone else to do it, then pay someone else to do it!” – Amara is also happy to help you with your captioning needs, for a fee.

Captioned Video Repository

Amara has been used by a lot of people to caption a lot of videos, meaning there are a lot of captioned videos available through

It is worth searching on some keywords related to your subject matter to see if some other educator might have captioned an excellent instructional video that might benefit your students – and save you some time in the process!

Volunteering – Captioning as a Public Service

Do you believe in community service? Captioning videos through Amara certainly counts as a community service, albeit for our global community of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

At Amara, the community works on videos that need to be captioned for other people too. If you need videos captioned for your class, and you are willing to wait for the volunteers to get to your request, then you can add the video to a list of videos that volunteers will caption – eventually.

A huge number of educators make use of, so you will also be supporting your own community of educators when you use, whether you do the captioning or you ask volunteers to do it for you.

Extra Credit, Anyone?

Do you have the kind of class where you can award extra credit for public service? is a great vehicle for tapping into students’ desire to help others and improve their own grade at the same time.

Even if you don’t have enough videos to keep your students busy, they can volunteer to caption other people’s videos through

Award-Winning Technology provides some of the most intuitive and easy to use captioning tools available. You will see why they have won so many awards around the world for their design and capability.

Using only three keystrokes, you can caption your web-based video with no hassle.

Amara Workflow

Before we begin, remember that your video must be live and available on the Internet to use to caption it.

To begin the process, click on the “Amara Public Workspace” tab at the top of the screen, and click the “Add Video” button when it appears.

Amara start screed with Add Videos button highlighted.
Click Add videos button to begin…

You will be prompted to enter the video URL, and specify the language of the video.

You will also need to specify your own language for your user profile within Amara. Amara allows you to specify 6 languages of proficiency, if you are so talented.

With your profile language(s) specified, you will be able to click the “Add/Edit Subtitles” button.

add/edit subtitles button
Click the Add/Edit subtitles button to begin the captioning workflow.

There are three basic steps to captioning a video with Amara:

  1. Transcribe the dialogue and auditory information.
  2. Synchronize the presentation of the captions with the sonic presentation.
  3. Review the final product.
The Amara workflow of three steps: 1. Type what you hear, 2. Sync timing, 3. Review and complete.
The Amara captioning workflow is really that easy.

That’s it!

Amara will make sure you have all the help and support you need along the way.

Amara support overlay explaining the interface for a first-time user.
Amara support overlay explaining the interface for a first-time user.

Work through the video, using TAB to play/stop the video, and the UP and DOWN arrows to indicate the Start and Stop times for each line of captioning.

The final step of the workflow: review your captions and timing.
The final step.

When you finish the captioning process, will include the captioned video as part of the public repository, and you can link to it or embed it in a page within your LMS.

Mission accomplished, the successful completion notification from Amara.
Mission complete!

For Longer Jobs

If you are working on a long video, or if you get interrupted, there is a “Save Draft” button that will maintain your progress for when you are able to login again and resume your editing.

Video with incomplete subtitles.
This video has incomplete subtitles.

You can come back at any time and finish your video captioning.

Now you know about the world’s largest community of caption/subtitle enthusiasts, and another option for dealing with inaccessible videos you find on the Internet.

I hope this helps, and thanks for reading!

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