November 15, 2021

Options for Live Captioning Virtual Events

A moment from the Special Olympics Oregon Breakfast with Champions livestream shows the host in front of a large LED wall. Overlayed on the video is the nameplate and captions

Video captions, also known as same-language subtitles, provide a benefit to viewers with hearing loss as well as those who are watching in a setting with ambient noise or in a location where they need to keep the video silent. Multi-language captioning increases accessibility for people watching in their non-native language. If you are interested in adding live captioning to your virtual events and conferences, you have a number of options to consider.

Shown above: Special Olympics Oregon Breakfast with Champions 2021 livestream virtual event. (Production partner: Raise Agent)

Traditional Black Box Captions

If white text in a black box centered at the bottom of the video image is what comes to mind when you think of video captions, you are picturing “burned-in captions.” Burned-in captioning can include two languages side-by-side. Burned-in captions stay with the video forever.

Multiple-Language Captioning with Embedded Live Captions

Burned-in/black box captioning allows for captioning two languages at once. Provide your audience with even more language options by embedding live captions on the webpage where you have embedded your livestream viewer.

Embedded captions are also a great option if you want to caption your virtual event without burned-in captions. Using an iFrame code, you can embed live captions onto your livestream landing page. A button allows your viewers to show and hide captions as they wish. When streaming to YouTube, the captions will appear in the video description.

  • Further reading: learn about web accessibility for your website on DesignRush.

After your live virtual event, obtain an SRT file from your captions provider in order to add the captions to the video recording. Alternatively, you can link to a separate page or document containing the captions from the entire event.

Caption Both Live and Pre-Recorded Segments

Captions can be generated by both machines and by humans. Human captioners are able to caption both the live segments and your pre-recorded videos in real-time, maintaining the feeling of a live event during your entire livestream.

The AV Department Partners with SyncWords

We’ve partnered with SyncWords to streamline our clients’ experience when adding live captioning to virtual and hybrid events and conferences.

  • To hire SyncWords, download the instruction sheet.
  • Submit your request to SyncWords by visiting
  • Enter the following comment in the SyncWords contact form: I would like to hire a live ENGLISH captioner for a livestream produced by The AV Department. The AV Department will create a Zoom meeting to share audio and video from their studio for real-time captioning. I, the organization, will supply that Zoom link to SyncWords’ captioner & tech. We need the captioner logged in 15 minutes prior to our pre-show start time. Our pre-show begins at X:XX am/pm (___ timezone). 15 mintes prior to this is X:XX am/pm (__ timezone) on this date: XX/XX/XXXX.

SyncWords services feature live human captioners for virtual events spoken in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German to provide real-time captions. Translations in 100+ languages are achieved with advanced AI translations. The accuracy of human captioning exceeds 98% and often surpasses 99.3%.

Ready to go live? Contact us to discuss your virtual and hybrid events. We are happy to answer your questions about livestreaming technology, including live captioning options.