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The Importance of Captioning Video: Sarah Snow Interview [TRANSCRIPT]

EMILY GRIFFIN: Hi, I’m Emily Griffin with 3Play Media. And today I’m thrilled to be chatting with Sarah Snow, Community Manager of the Glide messaging app. Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to chat today.

SARAH SNOW: Thank you so much for having me. I’m happy to be here.

EMILY GRIFFIN: So, Sarah, I work for 3Play Media, and we’re a professional closed captioning company based in Boston, Massachusetts. As a provider of captions, we understand how important they are for making video accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

So when we heard about your SXSW panel about video captioning, we were really excited to learn more. So to start off, could you please just tell me a little bit about what your role is at Glide?

SARAH SNOW: My role is a community manager. I interact with the community, and I spread the word about

Glide. And what’s really great about Glide is that it’s an asynchronous video communications platform.

So, like right now, unlike scheduling a synchronous call, you would just send a message. And if your friends or family are available to watch it live, they could watch it in real time. But usually, the people that you want to speak to aren’t available the exact second that you want to talk to them. So you could also just go back and watch the videos whenever you want.

So it makes video communication extremely accessible. And we create a lot of video content for our community on social media and within the app. And we really try to close caption all of the videos that we put out on social media, because I think it just makes the videos a lot more accessible for everyone.

EMILY GRIFFIN: Awesome. Could you tell me the story of how you discovered the importance of video captioning?

SARAH SNOW: Oh, for sure. Well, it’s part of a larger story, but about, I think, a year and a half ago, I started getting messages from users that were deaf or hard of hearing. And they said that they couldn’t understand the content that I was sending them because there wasn’t any closed captions.

And I immediately took it to heart and started adding closed captions on my videos. I also went out and learned some sign language to really even delve deeper into the deaf and hard of hearing community. And they really embraced it. And they always thank us for adding closed captions.

And it was at that time that I started becoming friendly with the influencers within the deaf and hard of hearing community. And I teamed up with someone, who’s now a good friend of mine, Rikki Poynter. She has a YouTube channel, and she’s a big advocate for closed captions.

And we got together, and we made a video called “With Captions,” which is a video that I recently posted on the Sarah Glide Facebook page. And I put it on YouTube about a year ago. And we addressed all YouTubers and asked them to start closed captioning their videos. Because there’s a lot of people that want to watch their content, but without closed captions they can’t understand it.

So that’s a campaign that we did. And it has on Facebook now almost a million views. So that’s just one of the things that we’ve done to really encourage people to add closed captions.

EMILY GRIFFIN: What does Glide do make video more accessible?

SARAH SNOW: So what Glide is doing is it’s breaking barriers for people that might have trouble communicating without video. Our three founders [AUDIO OUT] years ago. And that’s why Glide was born.

They found it really hard to communicate with their friends and family back home, because sending a text message, it’s not as personal as talking to someone face to face.

And just the logistics of getting on a video call, it’s really hard. It’s hard to find a time when you want to schedule. But it always happens. It’s always like you spend the first few minutes seeing if the other person can hear you. And you have to sit down. And when you’re on a Skype call, it’s like you’re not really doing anything else.

So what they did was they broke that barrier. And they made it so you could still have the convenience of just pressing one button to send a video, while still not being locked into a conversation and not have the barriers of time zones and super fast internet connection, because it’s asynchronous.

EMILY GRIFFIN: This March, you’ll be hosting a panel discussion about video accessibility at SXSW Can you talk about how you decided to propose that panel and what you have planned for it?

SARAH SNOW: So it’s all the work that I’ve been doing with the deaf and hard of hearing community. And they’ve inspired me. I’ve learned so much from communicating and interacting with that community over the past year and a half, and I think that there is a lot of tips that I could give other marketeers about what they could do to further engage with that community.

I also think that a lot of marketeers don’t understand how big the audience is and how many deaf and heard of hearing people there are. There’s over 10% of people in the US are either deaf or hard of hearing. So I think that everyone needs to work really hard to make sure that any content that they put out is accessible to those people.

But it’s not even just the deaf and hard of hearing community. It’s anyone that speaks a different language or have trouble seeing. The closed captions can really help a lot of people out, in different communities. So I’m going to talk a little bit about that in my panel.

I’m also teaming up with Jules Dameron who is a deaf film director. And we’re just going to be sharing different insights that we have about interacting with the deaf community and what people could do to make their video content more accessible.

EMILY GRIFFIN: And for those attending SXSW do you have the details on when and where the panel will take place?

SARAH SNOW: Yes. They just released the schedule for it. It’s on Monday, March 14th, at 12:30 PM, at the Hilton, Hall H, I think. I hope that’s all right. I think that’s the details, but there’s more information on SXSW’s website.

And you can check out, our panel is called “How Video Introduced Me to the Deaf Community.” So anyone that wants to and anyone that’s attending is welcome to come. It’s going to be a really interesting panel.

EMILY GRIFFIN: Awesome. Well, Sarah, thanks so much for joining me today. And best of luck at SXSW.

SARAH SNOW: Awesome. Thank you so much. This was a lot of fun. So thank you.

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