Harvard Settlement Defines 3Play Media as Standard for Caption Quality

January 3, 2020 BY JACLYN LEDUC
Updated: February 7, 2024

One of 3Play Media’s core beliefs is that captioning quality and accuracy are critical for true accessibility. We guarantee 99% accuracy for every video file that we caption, and our measured caption accuracy rate is the highest in the industry.

A recent settlement between the National Association of the Deaf and Harvard University specifically references 3Play Media as a pillar for captioning quality and notes that captions must have “an accuracy rate equal to that offered by a vendor captioning service such as 3PlayMedia.”

We are pleased that the settlement advises using a captioning vendor, and are proud to be mentioned by name. We will continue to make true caption accuracy a priority in hopes of making the world a more accessible place.

NAD v. Harvard University Settlement

In 2015, the NAD filed a class-action lawsuit against Harvard University for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide accurate and comprehensive captioning for online educational content.

After four years of litigation, on November 27, 2019, the NAD and Harvard University settled by means of a consent decree to improve accessibility for Harvard’s content.

In the settlement agreement, several accessibility requirements are written which must be followed by Harvard University such as closed captions must be added to existing content posted on or after January 1, 2019, within two years.

The case between the NAD and Harvard was unique because it brought forth issues with the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the university’s captions. As far as captioning quality standards go, the agreement gets specific:

 In the case of video files, to overlay or externally embed synchronized visual text for speech and, consistent with WCAG 2.1 AA, provide nondialogue audio information needed to understand the program content, including sound effects, music, laughter, speaker identification, and location on a digital media file at an accuracy rate equal to that offered by a vendor captioning service such as 3PlayMedia and in a manner consistent with industry standards regarding synchronicity, completeness, and proper placement;  Case 3:15-cv-30023-KAR Document 201-1

Captioning Quality at 3Play Media

3Play Media’s captioning process is centered around providing accurate captions and is comprised of three key steps:

  • Each caption file goes through automatic speech recognition technology to produce a rough transcript.
  • A professional transcription editor cleans up the rough transcript using our proprietary software.
  • The transcript is finally reviewed by a professional quality assurance manager to check for correct spelling, grammar, and more.

A combination of speech recognition technology and human editors is what allows us to efficiently deliver a caption file that is 99% accurate or higher to all of our customers.

Accessibility is vital for students with disabilities in higher education, but it also benefits every student. Today, accessibility goes beyond providing ramps, elevators, and curb cuts. It now extends to the internet and to digital materials, such as PDF documents, online videos, and more.

Accessibility in higher education is possible and well worth it, for everyone. Just follow our roadmap to web accessibility in higher education to get where you need to be accessibility-wise.


Download the ebook for Roadmap to Web Accessibility in Higher Education.

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