Accessibility: Why Closed Captioning Matters!

As our world moves deeper into globalization and the digital age, we’re more interconnected that ever before. This means that the need for accessibility cannot take a back seat. And that’s also why closed captioning and video accessibility matter more than ever before.

When we speak about accessibility, we mean that everyone, no matter their age, social status, gender, geographical location, or any other factor, should not affect their receiving and understanding of information. Accessibility also means that everyone is able to be an active and contributing member of our digital world.

Accessibility in this context includes provisions for all visual, auditory, cognitive, speech, and neurological disabilities. Today our Day Translations blog will be zooming in on one of the many accessibility options those with an auditory disability have, and that is closed captions.

Let’s get right down to business.

What is Closed Captioning?

Captioning or closed captions is the process of giving a textual representation of what is being said and heard on any type of video format as it is happening. Closed captions are tailored specifically for those who are deaf or have hearing disabilities so that they are able to follow along.

A key feature of closed captions is that of the non-speech elements that are also included such as speaker ID’s and all the sound effects necessary to understand and follow along with the plot of the video.

Closed Captions vs Subtitles for Online Course and Other Video Content

There might be a common misunderstanding that closed captions and subtitles are the same and as a result of these the terms are used interchangeably, but this is not so. It is important that we understand their differences.

When we use closed captions, the assumption is that the viewer is unable to hear. The icon that is used to bring awareness that closed caption is available is ‘CC’ and it can be found on your remote, by way of written announcement before the video begins or on your video recording device.

On the flip side is subtitling. Subtitles are intended to be used by hearing viewers who are unable to understand the language that is spoken in the video. They translate the audio of the video for the viewer to understand. Subtitles do not include the non-speech elements like closed captions does. They aren’t considered to be of the correct standard for someone with a hearing impairment.

Reasons Why We Need Closed Captioning

Now that we have a better understanding of what closed captions is as well as the difference between it and subtitles, it’s now time for us to establish some good reasons why we need captioning.

  • Approximately 5% or more of the world’s population suffers from some form of hearing loss. That’s around 430 million people. With an alarming number such as this, closed captions become a necessity. Especially because the video is one of the most powerful tools used to reach audiences on a daily basis.
  • Captioning helps those who are both hearing impaired and non-natives of the source language of the video. It promotes a better understanding.
  • If closed captions are not available for your entire video or online courses and educational videos, it can possibly lead to legal ramifications depending on where you are in the world. Closed captions are relevant in many situations and a noisy environment is just one of the many situations.
  • Captioning helps the viewer, for example, a student watching an educational video, understand the content better. It makes for a more accessible video experience and helps students focus.
  • Captioning can help in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process. This is because your video has a text element, which makes it easier to appear in a user’s search results.

Why Quality Matters in Closed Captioning and Video Captions

The whole purpose of closed captions is to provide an accurate text format of the video content. With this in mind, the quality of your closed captions has to be up to standard and almost if not completely perfect.

Having inaccuracies within your closed captions means that it interrupts the accessibility that it is supposed to be providing. Here are a few things that should be on point in order for your closed captions to be up to standard and meet the quality standards that are required:

  • The text displayed should be at least 99% accurate
  • It should be readable (not too small, font used)
  • Does not obstruct the video’s content
  • Speaker labels are included
  • Captures all non-speech elements

Conclusion

We hope we’ve helped you gain a better understanding of captioning and how necessary and important it is. Especially in today’s fast-paced digital world.

Don’t doubt the power and relevance of captioning, especially if you do not have a disability. It helps everyone.

Don’t forget that at Day Translations, we provide closed captioning services and are here to help you make all your video content accessible for all. And of course, language isn’t a barrier for us. Contact us today!

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