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Demystifying Closed Captioning: Your Guide Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our journey through the realm of closed captioning. In this blog, brought to you by AccessLOOP, we delve deeper into the world of captions, exploring the various types, the distinction between captions and subtitles, the intricate process of caption creation, and the importance of quality. If you missed Part 1, we encourage you to catch up for a comprehensive understanding of this essential accessibility tool.

Types of Captions and Their Diverse Applications

Closed captioning offers a range of options to cater to diverse needs and situations. Let's explore the types of captions and what they bring to the table:

  1. Closed Captions: Identified by the CC symbol, closed captions provide viewers with control. They can toggle captions on or off as needed. These captions are created as separate files, enhancing compatibility with different platforms.

  2. Open Captions: Unlike closed captions, open captions are 'burned on' to the video. They are ever-present when the video plays, eliminating the need for viewer intervention

  3. Live Captions: Is a service that offers live captions remotely on various screens, including computers, projectors, tablets, and smartphones. These captions can be displayed as full-screen text in real-time or embedded within presentations and videos.

Captioning vs. Subtitles: Unraveling the Differences

One common misconception is that captions and subtitles are interchangeable. However, there are key distinctions between the two:

Subtitles are primarily used for translating languages and are commonly seen in foreign films and programs. They assume that viewers can hear the audio, resulting in fewer additional elements like background sounds or speaker change notifications.

Captioning, on the other hand, uses the same language as the dialogue in the video and encompasses all audio, including non-speech elements such as ambient noises and music.

The Human Touch in Caption Creation

While computer-generated captions have a role in global accessibility through Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, the highest quality captions are crafted by human captioners. Two primary methods are employed in human-generated captioning:

  1. Respeaking: A respeaker listens to the audio feed from the video, meeting, or live event and verbally repeats the dialogue as they hear it. The respeaker's words are transcribed by voice recognition software, complete with punctuation and formatting instructions. The goal is to ensure clear, accurate captions with minimal delay.

  2. Stenocaptioning: Stenocaptioners use a specialised shorthand keyboard to type out dialogue in real time, often at remarkable speeds of over 300 words per minute. Their adapted keyboards allow them to input entire syllables or words with a single keystroke. Stenocaptioners consider elements such as line positioning and speaker changes, ensuring accurate captions.

Captioning live content presents an additional challenge, as live captioners have no option to pause or rewind, necessitat

ing real-time accuracy.

The Importance of Quality

Caption accuracy is paramount, with industry standards requiring a 99% accuracy rate in punctuation, grammar, and spelling. At Ai-Media, our captioning quality averages an impressive 99.6%. Even a minor error can confuse and mislead viewers, underscoring the importance of precision.

Consideration is given to the 'blocking' of captions, ensuring meaningful information is grouped together. Caption 'positioning' is adjusted to avoid obstructing on-screen graphics or speaker's mouths.

Caption 'reading rates' are calculated to offer viewers adequate time to read captions while accurately reflecting spoken dialogue. Colours and dashes are employed to signify speaker changes, ensuring clarity, especially when characters are off-screen.

Continuity is a key aspect of quality captions, offering a seamless reading experience throughout the program.

Embrace Closed Captions with AccessLOOP

If you're considering adding closed captions to your content, AccessLOOP is your partner in accessibility. As a leading captioning, transcription, and translation solution, we operate worldwide, offering an array of services for various content types. Whether it's online work, social meetings, educational classes, events, videos, live streams, or personal appointments, AccessLOOP has you covered.

Reach out to our friendly team to explore our comprehensive services and embark on the journey towards enhanced accessibility. Your audience deserves nothing less than the best in captioning.

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