7 Bite-Sized Answers to Closed Captioning Questions

April 28, 2016 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: June 3, 2019

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Tackling closed captioning for the first time?

You’re bound to have some questions.

3Play Media’s Lily Bond fielded some the most frequently asked questions about closed captioning in the webinar
Advanced Workflows for Closed Captioning

Here are 7 questions our attendees posed, and the nuggets of knowledge that Lily dropped:

How do web accessibility laws affect audio recordings?

For video files, a timed-text caption file is required to comply with accessibility laws, but for audio-only recordings, a transcript is sufficient.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that if you are using a recorded PowerPoint presentation, that is considered a timed audio-visual media presentation, and that would require captioning.

What is the legal accuracy rate for captions that institutions need to meet?

So unfortunately, none of the laws give an actual number in terms of accuracy rate, but the general assumed necessity is 99% accuracy. Most schools will try to hit that compliance level, and most vendors will also try to do that.

How do you handle captioning third-party videos on sites like YouTube that may not be properly captioned?

Captions Plugin
Captioning educational videos that you do not own is likely a fair use of that content.

To do that, we recommend using something like a captions plugin.

A captions plugin is a simple JavaScript code that lets you embed a YouTube video into your website instead of downloading it illegally, then display an accurate caption file below that video. That’s the safest way to avoid copyright law violations.

But in a case of copyright law versus captioning law, captioning is most likely to prevail.

Where do you see captioning and accessible media demands heading in the future?

The laws are definitely heading towards more captioning. There’s no doubt about it.

The Department of Justice has come out on the side of increasing captioning requirements numerous times in the National Association of the Deaf’s lawsuits. And the ADA is being expanded to include that requirement.

Section 508 has a refresh that includes WCAG 2.0, which is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. So there will be more standards and requirements for captioning in the future.

If the dialogue in a video contains incorrect grammar, do you amend the grammar in the captioning or caption verbatim?

The quality of the captioning file is really about finding a happy medium between what was actually said and what is readable for the viewer. Our recommendation would be to use verbatim as much as possible, unless it interferes with the readability of the caption file.

What kind of judgment should be used for accurate captioning when the speaker is intentionally using an accent or dialect, like a character in a play?

You should definitely indicate that accent or dialect, and then it’s a choice between whether you phonetically type it out or whether you use brackets saying [speaking with a French accent] — whichever is more consistent with your standards.

Compare the following examples:

Oh, ‘e’s your son, is ‘e?

[thick cockney accent] Oh, he’s your son, is he?

How do you get closed captions in other languages?

Once you have an accurate English transcript or a caption file, it’s really easy to translate that into other languages. Those translated captions are called subtitles.

[thick cockney accent] Oh, he’s your son, is he?

3Play Media offers translation as an option once you have the English captions with our service, but there are other great tools like Amara, which is a crowdsourced subtitling platform.

In Amara, you could submit your English caption files on Amara and request translations into specific languages, then they would crowdsource people to complete them.

YouTube also just implemented crowdsourced translation and subtitling, as well as crowdsourced captioning on their player. And so those are some great free options, if you know that you have a pool of translators that would be interested in watching your video and translating it into other languages.

Hungry for more information about closed captioning? Check out our upcoming webinars and register for free:

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