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Established in 2003, WVU's Captioning and Interpreting Team is a nationally-recognized compliance program housed within the Office of Accessibility Services. We provide the following services for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing:

  • ASL – Real-time American Sign Language Interpreting
  • Live Captioning – Real-time speech-to-text transcription
  • Closed Captioning – Post-production captions on recorded videos

Student Accommodations

Students who Register with OAS and are authorized for these accommodations will have captioning or interpreting provided according to their course schedules once they have submitted their semester accommodation renewal request through their Student Accessibility Management for Mountaineers (SAMM) account.

In addition to course accommodations, students may also request captioning or interpreting for other academic sessions hosted by WVU, including:

  • Advising appointments
  • Study groups
  • Tutoring sessions
  • Office hours
  • Class review sessions
  • Out-of-class lectures or events

These requests should be made at least one week prior to the academic session or appointment to help ensure that accommodations can be arranged in time for the event.

The Captioning and Interpreting Team provides over 3,000 hours of transcribing and interpreting for WVU students in over 60 different subjects, each year, with an average satisfaction rating of 98%.

Sign Language Interpreting

Sign Language Interpreting facilitates live communication between individuals who do not share the same language by rendering messages from spoken English into American Sign Language and vice versa.

West Virginia University’s Sign Language Interpreters are required to maintain their certification at the national level (NIC) or state level (VQAS Level III or higher). They adhere to the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct.

Are you an interpreter trainee who is interested in making WVU your practicum site? Contact Jason Kapcala for more information!

Live Captioning/TypeWell Transcribing

Live Captioning is a speech-to-text accommodation that occurs in real-time. Trained OAS Captioners create a typed meaning-for-meaning transcript of what is said so that the consumer can follow along and participate in real-time, using a tablet or other device. In most instances, this service is provided remotely.

West Virginia University’s Captioners are trained by TypeWell to capture and relay information at a rate equivalent to 220+ words per minute and have passed the TypeWell Final Skills Check. They adhere to the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP) Code of Professional Conduct.

Are you a qualified TypeWell Transcriber interested in mentorship? Check out WVU's Transcriber Mentorship Program for more information!

Closed Captioning of Media

Closed Captioning is the process of converting audio into text and displaying that text so that it is synchronized with the original audio/video. Captions not only provide access to narration and dialogue, but also relevant sound effects and musical cues.

Captioning is a time-sensitive process, and OAS will often reach out to faculty directly before the start of the semester and before official accommodation emails have been sent, in order to gather information about course media and to initiate the captioning process.

All media shown online in WVU classes should include appropriate closed captioning. Faculty who will be using media in their online classes or hosting media on a course website (including Blackboard) should reach out to OAS for consultation and captioning support even if they have not received an official accommodation letter for their course.

Audio-only files or de facto audio files (e.g. videos with a black screen, static image, or visual element that does not meaningfully correspond with the spoken content) require a text transcript of all spoken content. This can be posted as a supplementary file. They do not, however, require timed on-screen captions, as there is no meaningful link between the visual content and the audio content.

West Virginia University adheres to the West Virginia University Closed Captioning Quality Guidelines when creating captioned content. Media captioned by OAS is done so in full compliance with the October 2021 United States Copyright Office exemption to Section 1201 Rulemaking of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (exemptions for which WVU's Captioning and Interpreting Team played an active role in advocating before the United States Library of Congress).

Automated and machine-generated captioning do not meet the standard required for effective academic accommodation.

Are you an eligible student interested in earning work-study credit? Check out OAS’s Work-Study Closed Captioning Unit for more information!

Captioning and Interpreting Policies

No-Shows and Cancellations

Services do not begin until the student arrives at class.

Service providers will wait 15 minutes to hear from the student before leaving or signing off.

Students are responsible for notifying their service provider and/or the Assistant Director of Captioning and Interpreting if there are class schedule changes or if the student will be absent from class.

After the initial Add/Drop period has passed, students who fail to show up to class 3 or more times without notifying OAS beforehand will have services suspended until they communicate their service needs with OAS.


Students using remote services are loaned OAS equipment (unless they elect to use their own equipment), including a tablet and a microphone. This equipment will be signed out and returned at the end of each academic year for updating and inventory. Students who do not return their equipment may have a hold placed on their student account.

Service Utilization

Real-time transcribing is a live accommodation and intended to be utilized during class lecture. It is not, however, a suitable replacement for notetaking. As such, we require students to be present in class and connected to the reader feed to receive transcribing services, unless there is a legitimate academic need to be on and off the live feed during part of the class.

Often, transcribing services will not be provided during lab courses, internships, community service projects, exams, asynchronous course, etc., given the non-verbal, self-paced, and/or hands-on nature of those academic sessions. However, students who need services in a non-lecture course can request them, as needed, by contacting Jason Kapcala.

Out-of-Class Events

Students who are authorized for captioning and interpreting accommodations may request a captioner or interpreter for other academic sessions, including advising appointments, study groups, tutoring sessions, office hours, class review sessions, lectures, and other events. These requests should be made at least one week prior to the academic session or appointment to help ensure that accommodations can be arranged in time for the event.

 Place an Out-of-Class Request

Mandatory Reporting

If during the provision of services, a service provider overhears or is signed information pertaining to criminal activity, abuse, threats of suicide, or endangerment of others, they are required to report this information to their supervisor immediately.

If the situation seems like an emergency or is imminently dangerous, they will contact WVU Police and then inform their supervisor.

Transcript Distribution

Transcripts created by OAS for the purpose of student accommodation remain protected property of OAS. OAS only releases class transcripts to students who are registered with our office and authorized to receive them as an academic accommodation. Transcripts are not available for distribution to other campus stakeholders (students, faculty, or staff), except when requested as part of an internal investigation conducted by WVU or when a transcript is subpoenaed as evidence in a legal case.

Transcripts are not to be reproduced, copied, shared, sold, or distributed to any other stakeholder, third party, or website. Violation of this policy will result in termination of services.

Students who have questions about the content of their transcripts may bring those transcripts to their instructors for clarification during office hours, but instructors cannot require that students provide them with copies of their transcripts as a condition of receiving accommodations.

Faculty who wish to commission a transcript of a class or event for personal or professional use, should contact Jason Kapcala.

For more questions about Captioning and Interpreting Services, please visit our FAQ page.

Testimonials from our students

Having transcription services has completely changed my educational experience. Before, I didn't speak up about being hard of hearing. I was embarrassed and afraid to ask for help. It's so nice being able to know what's going on around me I wouldn't be able to participate or learn as effectively without the transcribers. For that, I am so thankful. Thank you for making being successful within my grasp.

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The interpreters are wonderful here! The interpreting services I've received this semester were essential to my return on campus. I am extremely grateful to the OAS. OAS has been integral to my education at WVU.

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Transcribing Services have helped me tremendously in class. I didn't realize how much information I was missing due to my hearing loss. I started using transcribing this past semester and earned the best GPA I've ever had in college!