Person watching television with closed captioning

Closed Captioning Service: Understanding Benefits and What to Look For

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About 15% of adults have trouble hearing. More children have the same issue.

Those individuals who suffer from partial or complete hearing loss could benefit from having closed captioning on their television, computer, and phone screens. Without this service, all of these individuals wouldn’t be able to enjoy content like those without hearing loss do.

If you’re looking to be inclusive and provide enjoyable content for everyone, you should hire a closed captioning service. To learn more about what closed captioning is and why it is wise to invest in closed captioning for your videos, keep reading.

What Is Closed Captioning?

If you’ve ever watched videos online, it’s likely that you’ve come across closed captioning at some point. Most popularly, the presence of closed captioning is signified by ‘CC’ in the bottom right corner of the video that you’re watching. This button allows you to toggle the service on and off.

When you click this button, you’ll notice that the video captioning that you’re watching will turn into a book of sorts. Everything that’s being said is transcribed at the bottom of the screen.

Other sounds that aren’t words are also transcribed using specific, descriptive language. Being able to include these extra noises makes it even easier for individuals with hearing loss to feel fully immersed in the content being presented.

Overall, closed captioning allows individuals with hearing impairment to access your content. While it opens up your potential audience even more, it will also show the hearing impaired community that you care about their ability to consume your content. Going the extra mile will be worth it.

What Laws Are Affiliated With Closed Captioning?

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission oversees communications across the country. Among other responsibilities, the Federal Communications Commission regulates captions and helps those companies who do choose to provide closed captioning meet fair regulations.

First, we should mention that everything that is broadcast on television has to have closed captioning. This regulation ensures that all of those who are hearing impaired can consume anything that may pop up while they’re watching television.

In addition to this, there are a few regulations that the Federal Communications Commission has put into place in regards to the closed captioning that is created for these programs.

There are four criteria that all closed captioning must meet:

  1. All captions must be accurate
  2. All captions must be synchronous
  3. All captions must be complete
  4. All captions must be readable

Let’s discuss these in further detail.

1. All Captions Must Be Accurate

This rule set forth by the Federal Communications Commission may be the most obvious of the group, but it’s also arguably the most important. 

There’s no point in having closed captions if the captions themselves aren’t going to be correct. You want to make sure that you’re providing the correct captioning so that hearing-impaired individuals who are looking to enjoy your content will be able to with ease. Having incorrect captions can be misleading and even misconstrued as rude.

Keep your captions accurate and you won’t have a problem. Think about how disappointed you would be if you depend on closed captions to watch videos and they were inaccurate.

Also, you should make sure that all of the non-word captions are as accurate as possible. Describe all sounds that occur in the video to the best of your ability to avoid any issues with the Federal Communications Commission.

2. All Captions Must Be Synchronous 

Each caption should align with whatever that specific caption is describing. Making sure that every single caption coincides with the proper part of your video is important.

If the captions are off, it could confuse those individuals who have partial hearing. It could also negatively impact the experience of hearing individuals who happen to like having captions on the screen.

Either way, out of sync material isn’t going to turn out well for your video. Your viewers want to be able to watch your video without having to figure anything out for themselves.

Make it easier for your viewers and keep everything in order.

On top of this, you have to make sure that the caption is displayed on the screen for a long enough amount of time for viewers to read it. Reading time varies from person to person, but you should be sure that the caption remains on the screen for a decent amount of time. Don’t assume that everyone is a speed reader.

3. All Captions Must Be Complete

Closed captions are not the place to be cutting corners. You don’t want to shorten the captions or exclude useful information.

If any sound is produced—whether through speaking or not—it should be included in the captions. This rule applies to the entire video.

It’s not for you to decide what’s important enough to be included in the captions. Any sound that happens in a video is part of the overall viewing experience and should be included for context.

The top two things to remember here are that (1) every noise counts such as sound effects and (2) captions should run for the entire video. Non-voiced elements in the narrative should be described to give the viewer the full picture of what is going on.

Lastly, speaker identification is sometimes missed in caption files provided by caption editor software. Make sure that your video captioning service is providing you with a commitment to 99% accuracy and completeness.

4. All Captions Must Be Readable

Hopefully, this point is easy to understand. If your viewers can’t read the captions, then what’s the point of having them there in the first place?

You need to make sure that your captions are easy to read for those viewers who depend on them. This means that the captions need to be in a standard font.

With this, the captions need to stand alone, meaning that they are not covering up other visuals on the television. Naturally, captions will take up some space, but you should make sure to place them in such a way that they aren’t covering up anything important.

You should also ensure that the captions don’t overlap with one another. If you have multiple lines on the screen or decide to transition from line to line, you should be sure to get rid of any overlap that may be happening.

Lastly, you need to keep the captions on the screen. If the words run off the screen, your audience won’t be able to see or read them… and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Keep your captions clean and readable so that your audience can enjoy your content.

Should I Hire Closed Captioning Services?

After reading all of those rules, regulations, and procedures about closed captions and everything that comes with creating them, we’re sure that you’re wondering about closed captioning services. We doubt that you want to have to keep up with all of the work that goes into making sure that closed captions are done well.

In fact, not very many people want to figure out closed captioning on their own. That’s why closed captioning services exist.

You’re not alone in finding all of this confusing. To determine whether or not closed captioning services are best for you, keep reading. We’ll go through some pros and cons that closed captioning services offer.

What Are the Pros of Closed Captioning Services?

The best part about closed captioning services is that someone else gets to handle all of the legal jargon and responsibilities that come with closed captioning. You don’t have to spend hours and hours figuring out how to correctly time your captions or line them up correctly.

Give this stress to someone else.

Because you’re handing this job to someone else, you’re going to have more time to put into your content. This will result in better content for your audience overall. With complete captions and killer content, your videos will be phenomenal.

As mentioned before, you want your audience to have the best possible closed captioning experience. Hire the finest closed captioning service that you can. Don’t skimp! Doing the bare minimum will not get the job done right. Hearing-impaired audience members are attuned to this and notice fine nuances in programming that others may take for granted.

In fact, you may notice that your audience increases after the implementation of closed captioning services. Those who are hearing-impaired or those who liked closed captioning may start watching your videos. Why? Simply because you’re allowing them to view the videos without having to strain to hear or have the volume turned on at all.

It may sound like a strange addition to those who don’t deal with hearing impairment, but it can make a world of difference for those who are.

What Are the Cons of Closed Captioning Services?

Unfortunately, closed captioning can be time-consuming. Between having to make accurate wording for non-verbal sections and adequate placement for the captions overall, it can seem impossible to handle captions by yourself.

This is why most content creators end up out-sourcing this job to closed captioning professionals or a captioning company. It’s likely that a captioning company provides more services like transcription service, video transcription, subtitling and solutions for accessibility. These services do cost money, but this tends to be a better alternative than trying to figure it all out by yourself.

Other than having to spend money for the service, there aren’t too many cons to hiring a closed captioning service.

How Much Do Closed Captioning Services Cost?

Closed captioning services can cost anywhere from $1 per minute of video to $15 per minute of video. You have to shop around and see what the best service for your videos is.

Something you can do is pick a service that falls in the middle. You don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money for something you could – in the end – do yourself.

Keep in mind that paying for someone to do your captioning for you is a choice of convenience. You could do all of it yourself, but you’re choosing to employ someone else to do it so that you don’t have to.

Think about what price you’d pay to have the convenience of not doing it. That should be the price that you’d be willing to pay for someone else to do it for you.

How Long Is the Turnaround for Closed Captioning Services?

Because we live in a fast-paced world, the turnaround time for closed captioning services is flexible. Some services offer a turnaround time of a few hours while others require a couple of days.

Just as with the pricing, the turnaround that you’re willing to wait for depends on the quality you want. The price that you pay for the service can also influence how fast the turnaround time is.

We recommend that you speak with your chosen closed captioning professional before you hand in the video to them. Make sure that you know how long they will take to get back to you. You want to plan out your content appropriately. 

If your captioner takes two days to get a 30-minute video completed, you need to hand in the project at least five days before it needs to be posted. This will give you a couple of days to review the video and return it for edits if needed.

The earlier you get the video done and captioned, the better.

If you do find that there is a delay in the completion of your closed captioning services, you can always let your audience know that your video will include closed captioning in the future. This can remind them to come back to watch later so that you don’t completely lose that audience.

Where Can I Get Closed Captioning Services?

After reading about the rules and regulations behind closed captioning, the pros and cons of closed captioning services, and the costs and turnaround time, you have enough information to decide whether or not you’d like to invest in closed captioning services of your own.

We highly recommend that you hire closed captioning services if you are at all worried about following rules and regulations. We also suggest that you outsource the job if you post videos regularly and don’t think you’ll have the time to put in the work needed.

You wouldn’t want to skimp out on creating important captions for your viewers, and we’re sure that they would want the best quality work that you can get.

So, if you’re looking for quality closed captioning services, you should contact us. We can help you make your videos accessible for all of those in your audience who are hearing-impaired. Just wait until they find out that you’ve taken the resources to give them closed captioning so they can enjoy your content like the rest of your viewers.

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