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How to Boost Accessibility with Closed Captions

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Is Closed Captioning an Accessibility Feature?Closed captioning, or the process of displaying text on-screen to correspond with the video's audio, is indeed...

Is Closed Captioning an Accessibility Feature?

Closed captioning, or the process of displaying text on-screen to correspond with the video's audio, is indeed an accessibility feature. By providing a text alternative for sound effects and speech, it caters to individuals who are hard of hearing or those with hearing difficulties, aligning with accessibility guidelines like WCAG.

Is Closed Captioning an Assistive Technology?

Closed captioning qualifies as an assistive technology, providing a solution that enables individuals with hearing loss to access video content. It serves as an essential tool for content accessibility, especially on social media platforms and educational videos.

How Can I Improve My Closed Captioning?

Improving closed captioning means enhancing accuracy, timing, and readability. Employing high-quality captioning services, using speech recognition technology, and taking the time to edit captions manually can enhance the functionality of your captions.

Can Screen Readers Read Closed Captions?

Screen readers primarily read text files and digital content but don't typically interpret closed captions as they are synchronized with video content. It's the video platform's responsibility to provide proper accessibility tools for closed captions.

What are the Benefits of Closed Captioning?

Closed captioning offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Accessibility: Enables individuals with hearing impairments to enjoy video content.
  • SEO Benefits: Search engines index closed captions, enhancing the video's search engine visibility.
  • User Experience: Enhances viewer engagement, even for those without hearing difficulties.
  • Compliance: Meets legal standards such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Is Closed Captioning also Called Subtitles?

While often used interchangeably, closed captions and subtitles have distinct functions. Subtitles translate the audio into another language, while closed captions transcribe audio, including sound effects, for those with hearing loss.

What is the Difference between Open and Closed Captions?

Open captions are permanently visible and can't be turned off, whereas closed captions can be enabled or disabled by the viewer. Closed captions provide more flexibility, adhering to web accessibility standards.

Can I Add Closed Captioning to YouTube Videos?

Yes, adding closed captions to YouTube videos is straightforward. You can upload an SRT file, use YouTube's auto-generated captions, or utilize a captioning service to transcribe the audio description.

Who is Responsible for Ensuring that Closed Captions are Available?

Content creators, educational institutions, video recording platforms, and social media sites bear the responsibility for making sure closed captions are available. This adherence to digital accessibility standards promotes inclusive user experience.

Top 8 Software or Apps for Closed Captioning:

  1. Rev: Offers professional captioning service, specializing in fast, accurate transcriptions.
  2. Amara: Great for educational institutions, providing high-quality captioning.
  3. Subtitle Edit: A free tool that allows users to edit captions easily.
  4. Kapwing: A popular social media tool for real-time captioning.
  5. Magpie: Offers WCAG-compliant solutions for video accessibility.
  6. Descript: Uses speech recognition for automated captions with manual editing functionality.
  7. LinkedIn Video Captions: A LinkedIn-specific tool for adding captions to videos on the platform.
  8. Adobe Premiere Pro: Professional video editing software that includes comprehensive captioning tools.

By embracing closed captions, content creators, and platforms can make video content accessible to a broader audience, enriching user experience, and ensuring compliance with key accessibility regulations. Whether English or other languages, through subtitles or on-screen text, the value of closed captions cannot be overstated.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.