Closed Captioning Best Practices and Quality Regulations

Here at Transcription City, we believe that all video and audio (whether online or broadcast) should be accessible to all. Of late many new regulations and laws have been brought into force on a global scale to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have the means to enjoy all video and television programmes. With this in mind, we thought we’d offer some guidance to video producers, video production companies and our clients on how to comply with these rules and closed captioning best practices and quality regulations.

Closed Captioning Quality Control

Closed Captioning Best Practices and Quality Regulations

When providing closed captioning, it is essential that the information produced is of the highest quality in terms of the accuracy of the text (both spoken dialogue and off camera sounds), timings are correct for synchronicity, the whole programme includes captioning from beginning to end and the location of the closed captions do not obstruct any information crucial to the comphrention of the programme.

To elaborate, these four main areas of closed captioning quality control are as follows…

Complete Closed Captioning

Closed captions should run for the entire duration of a programme, video or film, from the opening credits, to the closing credits.

Perfectly Synchronised Closed Captions

Closed Captions should be in synchronicity with the spoken dialogue, any song lyrics, sound effects and all off-screen audio. The closed captions also need to appear at a speed and rate that is optimum for readability (not to fast and not too much text to read at once).

Closed Caption Placement

The placement of closed captions should be such that text is positioned so that it does not obstruct or distort the video (this includes any information or action essential to plot and if applicable, featured graphics or text).

Accurately Transcribed Closed Captioning

The dialogue, off-screen audio, music and any other sound effects must be accurately transcribed and displayed. Speakers and change of speakers should also be easily distinguished and identified.

Closed Captions Best Practices and Quality Control

When preparing or outsourcing your closed captions to a closed captioning services company, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your project runs smoothly. Firstly, it is essential that you stipulate your exact requirements and find a vendor that uses properly trained, screened and periodically checked video captioners. We recommend that you always review your closed captions before going to air and leave sufficient time for any corrections to be made. It is always prudent to provide any useful information to the transcriptionist who will prepare the pre-captioning script, this includes spellings of names, companies, technical terms, drug names (if applicable), abbreviations and song lyrics. If there are any issues, a good video transcription or closed captioning company will always welcome feedback (positive and negative) and this will allow you to grow a great business relationship and understanding.

Live Captioning Services

We recommend that you use a live captioners for live broadcast shows as this is the most accurate form of live captioning service.

If you would like more information about our video transcription services, closed captioning services, foreign language subtitling services or translation services, feel free to get in touch. We are available seven days a week and always happy to help. We believe in accessibility for all, so if you have any queries regarding our services for the deaf and hard of hearing, or blind and hard of seeing, please get in touch.

For more information on closed captioning best practices and regulations you can view Ofcom guidelines on closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing here or if in the US, FCC guidelines on Closed Captioning (Quality Report and Order here).

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