Accessibility, But Make it Efficient: Key Features To Look For In An Automated Closed Captioning Solution

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

A group of people looking down on various technological devices and smiling. A large title over them says "Capitoning."

A crucial element of digital inclusion today is closed captioning on your video content, but if you don’t choose your solution wisely, you may end up overburdening staff in your attempt to make an accessibility upgrade. Additionally, if you’re using a rigid captioning solution with no editing or customization features, like the ones available on a lot of free platforms today, you could end up doing more harm than good.

While on the surface using free video hosting platforms to caption your city meetings may seem like an obvious win for your city’s budget and accessibility rolled into one, it's time to look closer. Shows like "Caption Fail," poke fun at YouTube inaccuracies for entertainment purposes, but the #fails become serious when residents rely on those closed captions for civic participation and crisis communication.

The Bureau of Internet Accessibility and the University of Minnesota's media hub estimate that automated captions from these free platforms are around 60-70% accurate. That level of inaccuracy can lead to inadequate or misleading information among your residents.

To ensure you’re doing the best for your local residents, look for these key features in your automated captioning solution:

  1. Video Synchronization: Make sure your captioning solution keeps captions in sync with the corresponding video. This synchronization ensures that captions are accurately displayed at the right moments, allowing individuals with hearing impairments to fully comprehend the content. By incorporating this feature, content creators demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity.
  2. Custom Vocabularies: Since the fine editing doesn’t take place when you’re captioning a live event, using a solution that offers custom vocabularies can significantly reduce errors in local terms like street and organization names, names of local officials, and regional dialects.
  3. Find and Replace: When a term is used often during an event that did not make it into your custom vocabulary, having a find and replace feature can save a lot of time. Content creators can quickly search for specific words or phrases and replace them, significantly reducing repetitive tasks.
  4. Formatting Control: Many captioning solutions also offer the ability to format your captions. This may include the position and font color, among other things. This control can make a big difference when a standard lower thirds captioning position might cover up other important information in the video or the standard color is difficult to read on an especially light or dark background.
  5. Multilingual Capabilities: The ability to create captions in multiple languages is paramount. Translation capabilities can increase access among local audiences in multi-lingual communities and also opens your content up to viewers around the world.

Want to learn more about options for improving the accuracy of your automated captions? Schedule a chat with our team today!

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