Captioning and Transcription for Municipalities

January 16, 2019 BY JACLYN LEDUC
Updated: January 24, 2019

A municipality is a city or town that has its own local government, and the core duty of that government is to serve its citizens. It will be no surprise to learn that municipal activities must be accessible to all citizens, such as making a town hall video recording accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. In fact, providing accessible resources for people with disabilities is the law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) directly applies to all municipalities in the “public entities” section of Title II. The ADA covers all “programs, services, or activities of public entities,” and requires effective communication for deaf and hard of hearing individuals by means of “auxiliary aids and services” such as closed captions and transcripts.

Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act may also both apply to municipalities. Section 504 protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and applies to federal agencies and programs which receive federal funding. Any covered entity must make all communications accessible, including providing captions for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. Employees and members of the public must be able to fully participate in and with a federal program or federally funded program regardless of any physical or cognitive disability they may have. Since municipalities often receive federal funding, Section 504 frequently applies to them.

Read the ADA White Paper, download for free

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act covers federal programs and their use of electronic and information technology. Under this law, federal programs must follow WCAG 2.0 AA standards, which includes captioning and audio description regulations. Although municipalities aren’t federal programs, Section 508 may extend to federally funded and state-funded agencies through other legal obligations such as “little 508s,” or state-enacted laws similar to Section 508.

With these laws in mind, it’s clear that municipalities need services, such as captioning and transcription providers, to help make their information accessible. When it comes to captioning, though, there are many things to consider. Below, we discuss what should matter to a municipality when it comes to captions, common challenges they may face, and important features they should look for in a captioning solution.

What is important to municipalities?

  • Legal Compliace: As discussed above, a municipality falls under the ADA and is subject to being covered by Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Because municipalities must comply with the law, they must also caption their video content accurately to properly communicate information to deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Accuracy: Speaking of accurate captions, not only are they required by law (check out the NAD vs. MIT & Harvard case), but they also provide a clear and accurate message to viewers. Effective communication with citizens is essential to municipalities, and caption accuracy is key to making information fully accessible and understandable.
  • Flexible Billing: Municipalities want a captioning solution that works with their specific needs, which may include a steady flow of video content and a predetermined budget. GSA schedules are long-term government contracts with commercial companies to provide access to products and services at volume discount pricing. An ideal captioning provider will offer competitive pricing and be GSA approved.

What are common challenges for municipalities?

  • Captioning for a Diverse Audience: A municipality is there to serve the community, which is often comprised of a diverse group of people who may not speak English as a first language. Municipalities in need of non-English subtitles search for a captioning solution that serves as a one-stop-shop for all of their translation and captioning needs.
  • Ease of Use: Local government is busy, to say the least. They most likely don’t have time to fuss around with a complicated captioning workflow. They want a service that makes uploading and downloading captions a breeze. In local government, a captioning solution that’s easy to use would be well-appreciated.
  • Account Management: A municipality must stay organized but, with everything they have on their plate, adding captions to the mix is daunting. Municipalities need an account that allows them to manage their files, video projects, and multiple users. The account management system should also be capable of keeping large volumes of video content organized and easy to access.

Which captioning and transcription vendor features are most important for broadcast media?

  • 99% Accuracy Guaranteed: Good news! 3Play Media’s closed captions and transcripts comply with federal accessibility laws. Our captions provide a measured accuracy rate of 99.6%, and we always guarantee over 99% accuracy, even in cases of poor audio quality, multiple speakers, challenging content, and accents.
  • Audio Description: Accessibility laws for local governments like a municipality may require more than just transcription and captioning: it can extend to audio description through Section 508. 3Play Media offers high quality, competitively priced audio description services for online video.
  • Competitive Pricing: We offer competitive prices, but we never skimp on caption quality. Our advanced technology keeps our prices competitive and our quality assurance measures ensure that our captions are high-quality.
  • Customer Support: Even with a user-friendly Account System, one could still run into unexpected bumps in the road. At 3Play Media, our customers have access to an account manager, a knowledgeable support team, and a robust library of resources to answer any and all questions.
  • Easy Account Management: Once 3Play Media sets a customer up with an account, you can rest assured that captioning won’t be a complicated endeavor. 3Play Media wants customers to feel at ease when using the Account System, that means no complicated processes. Each account can support multiple users, departments, and permissions. Account admins can control user access to any of the core account functions like invoices & billing, uploading, editing, publishing control, and user management.
  • GSA Approved Vendor: 3Play Media is a GSA approved vendor and can work with local governments to meet their unique needs. We also offer flexible billing which allows customers to set up project level billing, meaning you can bill departments separately and control access to billing information.
  • Video Platform Integrations: As mentioned previously, 3Play Media wants the captioning process to be simple. That’s why we offer one-click solutions for most major video platforms and lecture capture systems to completely automate your captioning workflow.

Municipalities using 3Play Media

Islamorada, FL and City of Los Angeles


3Play Media is here to help local governments make their videos accessible. Get started today!

Get started today, or learn more about transcription, captioning, and audio description

3play media logo in blue

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.



By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.