How To Ask YouTubers To Caption Their Videos

[Image Description: From left to right- Colleen Ballinger, Tyler Oakley, and Lilly Singh]

As an advocate for proper closed captioning on YouTube, and as someone who created #NoMoreCRAPtions, I get a lot of people asking me what they can do or how they can ask their favorite YouTubers to caption their videos.

I’ve mentioned in a few videos what you can do, but here, I’ll give you an entire list of what you can do and where to do it:

Social Media

Leaving a comment under their videos is always a good thing to do, especially if you catch the upload early. Typically, and I say this from experience and from other creators saying so, creators have at least one or two forms of social media outside of YouTube. At this point of time, Twitter and Instagram are the most popular platforms outside of YouTube. Take all the social media platforms they have and let them know about captions there. Send them a tweet, comment on their newest Instagram post (or send a DM), comment on a Facebook post or leave a post on their wall.

E-mail

Adding closed captions is an accessible move as well as a business move, so go ahead and send that e-mail to the YouTuber you want to see captions from. Most YouTubers I’ve come across have their business emails listed on their profiles, so use that to get in touch with them.

Letters

This is the one way that people would consider to be the most tedious, and it can be, but it’s one I like doing a lot. One reason is simply that it’s yet another way to get somebody to be told that captions are important and the more times someone is told something, the better.

Another reason I like letters is that they’re personal and, unlike an email where one could just read the subject and send it straight to the trash, the person receiving it has to physically open it and at least start reading a sentence or two.

Of course, I recognize that this may be people’s least favorite option because it does cost money to buy envelopes, paper, pen, and stamps to ship the letters. And sometimes, you run the risk of the PO box not being open anymore and getting your letter returned. I have had that happen to me a few times. It sucks, but at the same time, I’m still glad that I took that risk because there was still a chance that I would be able to educate someone about video accessibility in another way.

But what to say?

So now you know what to do, but you don’t know what to say. “What should I say?” and “Is there a template of the letter?” are the most popular questions I get when I talk about doing sending an e-mail/letter and/or posting pictures of the letters on Instagram.

Thing is, I don’t have a template set in stone for myself or anyone else. I used to have one on my website when I was doing articles on there, but I deleted it.

My letters are different with every batch that I do. Sometimes, I personalize it depending on the person. If we have something else in common, like a shared love for Pokemon, for example, I add that in there to make it a little more unique and personable.

I don’t like having a template laid out for everyone to use because everyone is different. Everyone, deaf or hearing, is encouraged to take part in #NoMoreCRAPtions and sending out letters and e-mails, so it wouldn’t make sense for all of us to send the exact same thing numerous times. When I talk about how captions are important to me as a deaf person, a hearing person can’t relate to that. Even if they had auditory processing disorder, it’s not quite the same experience. That is why I tell everyone to write from their own hearts and brains.

With that said, here are a couple of things that you can say that work for all audiences:

  • Mention that captions for deaf people, people with auditory processing disorder, people learning English as a second language, and more.
  • Mention that captions are not only an accessible move, but a good business move. They help with SEO as well as the YouTube algorithm, and once a file is uploaded in English (or the spoken language in the video), others can translate it which then brings in more people from around the world to watch their videos.
  • Rev is the most affordable service on the market at $1/minute with 3PlayMedia right behind them at $3/minute.
  • Community contribution on YouTube is an option, but it’s vital that files be approved for proper format, spelling, grammar, and no trolling commentary/jokes. Also, still check files from Rev and other captioning companies. They won’t always get everything right.
  • If you’re writing an e-mail, you’re more than welcome to link my “3 Ways To Caption Your Videos” video. You can also link my Closed Captioning Awareness playlist.

If you have something personal to add, definitely add it. People always like things that grab at their emotions, right?

Hopefully, this helps you all out a little bit. If you would like to continue being involved in advocating for captions on YouTube and the Internet in general, use the hashtag #NoMoreCRAPtions on social media and buy yourself a shirt to support the movement here.