The world of captioning and accessibility is often changing, which is why 3Play Media conducts an annual report on the state of captioning.
Below is a snippet from the Q&A portion of the webinar, in which Elisa and Jaclyn answer questions about best practices for transcription, automatic captions, the ACCESS 2019 conference, and more.
Is it best practice to include audio pieces like “um” in transcripts, or is it distracting to include those types of things in the content?
ELISA EDELBERG: This really depends on the type of content that you’re getting captioned.
For things that are scripted [such as a television show], we would typically say to include things like “um” or “uh.” For other content where it’s an interview or a presentation or something like that, we typically recommend to take those out. And for instance, in our system, we do have the option for you to note whether you would prefer verbatim (which includes “uh” and “um” and other filler words) or a cleaned up version.
Is there ever a time when it’s OK to only use automatic captions?
JACLYN LEDUC: We mentioned briefly that automatic speech recognition really only works somewhat well when several conditions are true: The audio must be crisp and clear. There can’t be any background noise. There can only be one speaker without a heavy accent. And there are several more things, too.
People rely on organizations to provide accurate captions so that they can fully understand videos without sound.
But like we said, even with all of those conditions being true, accuracy rates normally don’t reach higher than 80%. For educational content and really for all content, that 80% accuracy rate is not really good enough. That’s because so many people rely on organizations to provide accurate captions so that they can fully understand the video without sound. That’s especially true for people who are deaf or hard of hearing who really rely on accuracy and accurate captions.
I will say that if need be, it’s OK to start out with automatic captions, but always go back and edit them and do a quality check to make sure that you’re providing viewers with high-quality captions. I realize that can be really time-consuming when you have a lot of content, but it’s necessary if you want to provide accurate captions.
For what other reasons are people are captioning on social media?
JACLYN LEDUC: The top reason [from the 2019 State of Captioning] was accessibility, and that’s important for making videos accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, but there are so many more benefits to captioning than that.
Other people indicated that in addition to accessibility, they use captions on their videos to help improve SEO, to boost their search rankings, and also to help drive more engagement. The point here is that making content accessible is really beneficial for everyone and for many other reasons in addition to access reasons.
Do you have any recommendations for descriptive video or audio description?
ELISA EDELBERG: For anyone who’s interested in additional aspects of accessibility, not just captioning, I did want to mention that we have a number of resources on our website, free resources, as well as a webinar that we do regularly called Intro to Audio Description.
Someone specifically asked about accessible players, and we at 3Play offer audio description, but we also have a plugin that does allow you to publish on many different platforms that don’t traditionally support audio description. It is keyboard and screen reader accessible. I would definitely recommend taking a look at our site and keeping an eye out for the upcoming Intro to Audio Description webinar.
What are some of the topics that will be covered at ACCESS 2019?
The following are some of the speakers that will be attending and presenting:
We have Lainey Feingold attending, and she’s a disability rights lawyer. She’ll be talking about accessibility laws and the current legal landscape of accessibility. She’s done several webinars for us in the past, and she really knows her stuff in the legal space.
There’s also Molly Wolfberg from Wistia. She’ll be talking about increasing engagement with accessible video. Karla Morris and Casey Frechette from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg will be presenting on accessible video for education and how it helps with things like comprehension and focus. We’ll also have some other sessions where you’ll learn things like how to create WCAG compliant content.
This is really exciting, but you’ll also get to chat with actor CJ Jones about his experience being deaf and how accessibility benefits those with disabilities, so that’s an awesome opportunity as well.