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Industry Resources

Tech Notes
VITAC Internet Captioning Service

Our Internet Captioning Service (ICS) is a convenient, web-based player for viewing captions on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. As a meeting organizer or attendee, you can access quality realtime captions with a simple internet connection.

Tech Notes
YouTube Live Captioning Instructions

Adding captions to your YouTube Live content goes a long way towards making it inclusive for all. And the best part? We make it simple to add livestreamed text to all of your live streams.

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Tech Notes
Facebook Live Captioning Instructions

Facebook Live enables you to broadcast a conversation, performance, Q&A, or virtual event to your followers and friends around the world. Captioning your content ensures that no one is left out of the conversation. Learn how easy it is to add captions to your Facebook Live stream.

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Tech Notes
ON24 Captioning Instructions

Adding captions to ON24 video conferences is easy with our Internet Captioning Service. In just a few simple steps, you can rest assured that all participants are included in the discussion.

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Tech Notes
Adobe Connect Captioning Instructions

One of the more popular online meeting platforms for businesses and organizations, Adobe Connect is a great way to reach your audience. Our live captioning offerings make the experience inclusive for all.

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Tech Notes
Webex Captioning Instructions

We make Webex live captioning easy. Using our proven accessibility solutions for Webex Event Center and Webex Meeting Center, meeting organizers can embed live captions into their streams for all attendees to view.

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Tech Notes
Zoom Captioning Instructions

VITAC is a preferred third-party provider for Zoom live captioning. We provide live captions by real people to help keep you connected with and accessible to your employees, constituents, professional communities, and students.

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Webinars
Understanding Stadium Captioning

Want to learn more about how captions can bring accessibility and inclusiveness to your stadium and arena events? Our webinar gives an overview of the best ways to integrate captioning, including just how easy stadium, arena, and event center captioning is, best practices, and some of the considerations in meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Webinars
Custom Caption Integrations and Data Security

Join VITAC Sales Manager James MacPherson and VITAC Chief Information Officer Joe Antonio as they discuss, among other topics:

● The most popular video platforms and caption integrations

● How VITAC creates custom workflows to integrate with both live and recorded video platforms

● The measures we take to ensure client information security

Click here to view the webinar.

Webinars
Advancing Accessibility – Creating Corporate Captions

As many businesses have learned, captions enhance both employee and consumer experiences in the corporate space. This webinar talks about the ease and benefits of captioning in the corporate environment, and features success stories and use cases from different clients in the software manufacturing, banking and finance, technology security, pharmaceutical, and web and media services sectors.

Webinars
Why Caption? Rules and Regulations Refresher

So, why should you caption? Heather York, VITAC’s Vice President of Marketing and Government Affairs, outlines a number of reasons from all regulatory, industry, and consumer standpoints. Topics discussed on this webinar include:

● Basic captioning history

● Federal Communications Commission rules for captioning on TV and the internet

● Americans with Disabilities Act requirements

● Section 508 requirements

Webinars
How Offline Captions Work

From video clips of your favorite late night television shows posted on social media to corporate training videos, captioning prerecorded content helps satisfy ADA regulations and also makes information more accessible. This webinar examines the offline captioning process and discusses, among other topics:

● The role that captions play in everyday life

● How prerecorded captions are created

● Things you should know when ordering captions

 

Webinars
How Captioning Works

From the conference room to the classroom to the living room, captioning content not only satisfies ADA regulations, but, perhaps more importantly, makes information attainable and retainable for nearly 50 million people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and the broader viewing markets that choose captions over sound. Check out our webinar, and learn how captions (both live and prerecorded) are created and the role that captions play in everyday life.

Solutions
A Guide to Captioning ebook

Our free ebook looks at the ins and outs of closed captioning, how captions and multi-language subtitles help corporations, and the cost (both financial and reputational) of ignoring accessible communications. The book explains how captions are created and how institutions and business of all sizes can use captions to expand their reach, attract customers and better communicate with their entire audience. Download our free ebook here.

Solutions
24/7 Client Support, Client Solutions, Client Satisfaction, Case Study

Our skilled engineering, technical, production, and customer service support teams are here for you 24/7/365, and anticipate problems before they actually become problems. Read how our team quickly resolved an issue outside of a client broadcasting center that could have resulted in a lengthy service disruption. Download our case study here.

Solutions
How Three Fortune 100 Companies Use Captions, White Paper

VITAC offers a variety of captioning services for domestic and international companies, including live and prerecorded captioning and transcription, live and prerecorded Spanish captioning, multi-language captioning and subtitling, audio description, and encoding. Read how a trio of Fortune 100 companies work with us to engage all employees. Download our corporate web captioning white paper here.

Solutions
How Captions Make Conferences Accessible to All, White Paper

Conferences, trade shows, and other events in the United States generate billions in revenue annually. Learn more about the challenges, solutions, and benefits of captioning conferences. Download our conference captioning white paper here.

Regulations
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are part of an internationally established series of standards for accessible content on the internet. The guidelines are for people with various disabilities, as well as for different devices used for browsing websites. WCAG 1.0 was published in 1999, WCAG 2.0 in 2008, and WCAG in 2018.

Read our summary about accessible media and WCAG.

Regulations
Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the first comprehensive civil rights legislation addressing and granting the basic accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Accessibility solutions like captioning and audio description not only provide equal access for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing and blind and low-vision communities, but they also go a long way to satisfying ADA requirements.

Read our summary about captions and the ADA.

Regulations
Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, in programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment, and in the employment practices of federal contractors. The act contains several sections, including Sections 504 and 508, which often are considered in accessibility related concerns involving individuals in the deaf and hard-of-hearing and blind and low-vision communities.

Read our summary of captioning and the Rehabilitation Act.

Regulations
IP/Web Regulations

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was enacted so that that people with disabilities weren’t left behind as technology progressed in the digital age. Among other things, the law requires that any program or program clip captioned on TV must also be captioned when delivered online, whether it be your personal computer, tablet, smart phone, game console, or streaming device.

Read our summary of IP/Web regulations.

Regulations
TV Regulations

There are a number of captioning quality standards and technical compliance rules in place to ensure that television programs are fully accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, including:

  • Caption quality best practices for video programmers and captioning providers, like VITAC.
  • Audio description requirements for television broadcast stations affiliated with one of the top four commercial networks in the top 60 television markets as well as the top five non-broadcast networks.
  • Captions for most programs broadcast in English and Spanish, including the Spanish-language content broadcast on your TV’s secondary audio programming channel.
  • Electronic Newsroom Technique captioning for broadcast stations outside of the top 25 television markets.

Read our summary of TV Regulations.

 

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why is the same word or name appearing again and again in my captions?

A: We’ve had reports of words or phrases getting “stuck” and repeating over and over on different programs and channels. Recent examples included “William Shatner” for a Los Angeles viewer, “Barack Obama” for a Seattle viewer, and “Kamala Harris” seen repeatedly by a viewer in Phoenix. In all cases, the common connection was that they were DirecTV users. If you see the same name or word appearing in your captions randomly, rest assured, nobody is doing this on purpose. Contact DirecTV, or perform a hard reset on your primary box − that is, turn off the box, unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in. That seems to work.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why aren’t you captioning swear words?

A: It is VITAC’s policy to caption everything we hear, unless expressly forbidden to do so by the network or station. When captioning live television, our captioners, who occasionally mishear audio like the rest of us, are instructed as follows: “when in doubt, leave it out.” Read more about our profanity policy.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why are YouTube captions so bad?

A: Many YouTube captions are automatically generated via automatic speech recognition (ASR) software, meaning a machine “listens” to the audio and attempts to translate that to text. However, even the most advanced speech recognition programs lack human intelligence and are, in essence, a guess by machines at the spoken word. Without having a human eye or ear monitoring the machine for such things as accuracy and completeness, ASR often fails to live up to expectations.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How do I get Spanish captions on an English program?

A: Changing the captioned language on your TV, laptop, or iPad can vary depending on the platform or media player, but general process is similar on most of them and usually begins with finding the “CC” icon that indicates closed captioning features.

English programs that are captioned in English and Spanish include Sunday Night Football and “Dateline” on NBC. To access the Spanish captions, find your CC menu and select CC3. CC1 always hosts the primary caption language, and CC3 hosts Spanish, when available.

“Over-the-top” streaming media services like Netflix, iTunes, and Hulu all provide captions or subtitles in multiple languages. Check their accessibility menus for details.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How can I get my company to add captions?

A: Laws such as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are in place to provide individuals with tools to be successful. The workplace accommodations that a company can make for its deaf and hard-of-hearing employees include captioning all video and audio communication, bringing in a sign language interpreter, providing text phones, and using more written memos and company communications (or, in some cases, a mix of all of the above). Check out this guide from the Job Accommodation Network through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that outlines common accommodations and offers suggestions on how to request services.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why do you have to describe every single sound. It’s annoying!

A: The Federal Communications Commission established rules for TV closed captioning to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming and to provide guidance to video programming distributors and programmers.

The rules apply to all television programming with captions, and require that captions be:

Accurate – Captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey background noises and other sounds to the fullest extent possible.

Synchronous – Captions must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible, and must be displayed on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.

Complete – Captions must run from the beginning to the end of the program to the fullest extent possible.

Properly placed – Captions should not block other important visual content on the screen, overlap one another or run off the edge of the video screen.

Viewer FAQs
Q: What is audio description and how do I find it?

A: Audio description offers blind and low-vision audiences the opportunity to enjoy television or film programming. It is a narrative description of onscreen actions, visual cues (such as characters and costumes), and text appearing in graphics or the video.

The audio description track can be found on a secondary audio channel available on most television sets, accessible through your cable or satellite box.

Q: Can I change the appearance of my captions? (color, size, etc.)

A: A lot of television sets and cable or satellite provider menus have the option to change the appearance of your captions. You should be able to access caption options through your television remote. Once you find the “CC” menu, there will be several options for the captions such as size and color.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why are some captions in mixed case, and others all uppercase?

A: When it comes to prerecorded captioning, VITAC captions in the case requested by our customers.

Most live captioning, such as what you see for news and sports, is captioned in all capital letters in order to retain the speed at which realtime captioners are required to caption, but we can caption live in mixed case if the customer requests it.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How do I fix my captions?

A: If your captions appear irregular, meaning they are severely delayed, include strange characters and misspellings, are jumping from one place to another on-screen, or are missing altogether and you know you’ve turned them on, you may need to do a soft or hard reset on your cable or satellite box. As these are commonly transmission issues, your video programming distributor (cable provider, broadcaster, or satellite provider) must pass through captions, and make sure they’re passing through correctly. To report a problem, see “How can I complain about captions?” above.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why aren’t some online videos captioned?

A: The Federal Communications Commission only requires internet protocol-delivered content to be captioned if it aired on television, including clips and montages of shows that aired on television. A lot of subscription-video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon caption all original programming so that it is accessible for everyone.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why are captions delayed?

A: Part of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Caption Quality Best Practices is that closed captioning must be synchronous with the program audio, but must also be on screen long enough to be read completely.

With realtime captioning, captions are usually 5 to 9 seconds behind, as the captioner takes the time to listen and “write” or respeak what they’re hearing (2-3 seconds), captions are transmitted to the networks (1 second), and encoded into the video transmission signal (4-5 seconds.)

Prerecorded captioning shouldn’t have any delay at all, and should appear onscreen synchronously with program audio.

If you’re noticing a significant delay in closed captioning to where it’s hindering your understanding of the program, this could be a transmission issue with your video programming distributor (cable provider, broadcaster, or satellite provider). Per the FCC, programming distributors must pass through captions, and make sure they’re passing through correctly. To report a problem, see “How can I complain about captions?” above.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How are captions created?

A: There are two types of closed captioning − live and prerecorded.

You see live realtime captions during sporting events and newscasts programs that are happening live. Live programming is captioned by specially trained realtime captioners who listen to a program as it is airing and write or respeak what they hear, often at speeds up to 250 words per minute. These words feed into customized software which transmits the captions to display them live on your television screen.

Prerecorded captions are created by highly trained captioners who listen to the program audio, transcribe words, sound effects, and music to give you a full sense of what is happening in the audio track of the program. Captions are timed to sync with the program audio and placed to match the speakers on the screen. The program is then watched all the way through to ensure accuracy in the timing, transcription, and overall readability.

Viewer FAQs
Q: Why are captions garbled ?

A: If you’re seeing strange characters and severe misspellings in your closed captioning, this is referred to as “garbling.” You may also be experiencing what is called “paired errors,” which occurs when two letters or characters are dropped out in repeated intervals. During some programs, errors aren’t as severe, and it’s still easy to figure out the context. For instance:

>> I WALKED DOWN THE STREET becomes >> I WALK DO THE STREET.

But with other errors, it’s nearly impossible to figure out:

>> I WALKED DOWN THE STREET becomes >> I WKED DOWTH STRT.

This could be happening for a variety of reasons, but the most common is that it is a transmission issue with your video programming distributor (cable provider, broadcaster, or satellite provider). Per the Federal Communications Commission, the programming distributor must pass through captions and make sure they’re passing through correctly. To report a problem, see “How can I complain about captions?” above.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How do I turn off captions on my TV?

A: For TV, use your television remote to access the closed captioning menu through cable or satellite box. Select “Off.”

For subscription-based platforms like Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, or Hulu, accessing the caption menu varies based on the device that you are using (Roku, AppleTV, Smart TV, etc). We recommend consulting your device instruction

Viewer FAQs
Q: How do I turn on captions on my TV?

A: New television remote controls are required to have a “first level” caption button. That is, you should not have to navigate through a menu to find the CC button. Viewers with voice-controlled cable boxes can turn captions on by saying “captions on.”

If you’re not watching standard television, please see the programmer’s guide for your device or platform. For example, turning on captions for Netflix on an Apple TV is different than turning on captions for the same service on your computer.

Viewer FAQs
Q: How can I complain about captions?

A: It is the shared responsibility of the video programming distributor (cable provider, broadcaster, or satellite provider) and the broadcaster (network/channel) to pass through captions, and both must provide a captioning contact. Both must publish captioning contacts on their website, and distributors also must include that information on your invoices. If you have a specific concern about a VITAC-captioned program, email us at marketing@vitac.com. You may also file a complaint directly with the Federal Communications Commission.

Client FAQs
Q: How do you ensure accuracy in prerecorded captioning?

A: Utilizing a classroom-type setting, with small group sizes, our offline captioning trainees receive in-depth, one-on-one instruction in offline captioning techniques. All VITAC offline captioners are trained to caption from our “Offline Captioning Style Guide” to ensure that no matter who is captioning a given program, the appearance of the captions is standardized to make it easier for the viewer to read and enjoy any program. In addition, treatment sheets are created for each and every program we caption, which list common character names, places, terms, etc., and are continually updated with new entries by staff. All of our prerecorded captioning is verbatim with the program audio and complies with all Caption Quality Best Practices as outlined by the Federal Communications Commission

Client FAQs
Q: What caption file types do you provide?

VITAC delivers caption files, or timed text files, in hundreds of formats and variations of those formats. Our most common deliverables are .CAP, SRT and SCC files.

Web caption file deliverables include DFXP, QT, RT, Youtube SRT, Facebook SRT, SMI, SBV, WMP, WebVTT and VTT.

SMPTE-based caption formats are available in many “flavors” and include .CAP CSS, STL, ADBE, SCC, SMPTE-TT, Netflix SMPTE-TT, Amazon, SMPTE-TT, and iTunes SMPTE-TT.

Client FAQs
Q: How do you decide what is important to caption?

A: The Federal Communications Commission established rules for TV closed captioning to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming and to provide guidance to video programming distributors and programmers. The rules apply to all television programming with captions, and require that captions be:

Accurate – Captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey background noises and other sounds to the fullest extent possible.

Synchronous – Captions must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible, and must be displayed on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.

Complete – Captions must run from the beginning to the end of the program to the fullest extent possible.

Properly placed – Captions should not block other important visual content on the screen, overlap one another or run off the edge of the video screen.

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Client FAQs
Q: How far in advance should I schedule my programming?

A: Certainly the more lead-time, the better, but we routinely handle requests for quick project turnarounds and promise to deliver the captioned materials back to you within the timeframe that you need it.

Q: Can I see a sample of all of your services?

A: Check out our examples of live captions, offline captions, Spanish captions, subtitles, audio description, and Internet Captioning Service.

Client FAQs
Q: How do I ensure my information is secure?

A: We take client security and confidentiality needs seriously, and apply a high degree of importance to our management and protection of client information and data. We design our networks, workflows, and applications to meet high security standards, and continuously work to improve our systems and practices to provide the most secure environment.

Client FAQs
Q: Do you caption classrooms?

A: Absolutely. In-class captions and captioned video instruction help make classrooms and course materials accessible to all students. In addition to satisfying requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, captions have been shown to, among other things, increase learning for all, help engage students, and help students focus and retain information. Read more about services we provide to educational institutions.

Client FAQs
Q: Do you caption church services?

A: We work with a number of congregations to add captions to live and online worship services and gatherings. Contact us to learn more about how captions can make your services more accessible.

Client FAQs
Q: What standards do you follow?

A: We certify that our captions comply with all Federal Communications Commission Caption Quality Best Practices for accuracy, synchronicity, completeness, and placement. Our service experts are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to handle your calls.

Client FAQs
Q: How long does it take to add audio description?

A: Our standard turnaround is two to four days for a 60-minute (or less) program. However, it is certainly possible to complete description for a 60-minute program in one business day, if you or your network clients have a rush situation.

Client FAQs
Q: Does VITAC support realtime captioning for web streaming services such as Webex, Zoom, or ON24?

A: Yes, we have many solutions for web streaming services. Rea more about our remote meeting caption integrations.

Client FAQs
Q: How do you ensure accuracy in live captioning?

Q: How do you ensure accuracy in live captioning?
A: We have a highly specialized screening process that each new realtime captioner applicant must complete. We review a realtime captioning candidate’s written, unedited files of specific programs, and we evaluate a candidate’s speed, accuracy, theory, and writing style. After hire, all of our realtime captioners are trained by veteran captioners. During the training program, all trainees must achieve designated benchmarks related to captioning quality, and successfully pass each benchmark with a minimum of 98.5% accuracy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes that live captioning will never be 100% verbatim due to the nature of its creation, however, we comply with all FCC Caption Quality Best Practices, including the creation of accurate, synchronous, complete, and properly placed captions.

Client FAQs
Q: Who do I call with an emergency?

A: Our realtime technical services team is available by phone 24/7 to field each and every phone call, whether it’s to fix a technical issue or to help schedule your breaking emergency news or weather cut-in. They are captioning experts, specially trained for quick troubleshooting. Find hotline numbers on our contact page.

Client FAQs
Q: Where have I seen VITAC’s captioning or subtitling work before?

A: As the country’s largest provider of media and entertainment captioning in the industry, we have over 85 exclusive contracts covering more than 100 networks. We caption more than 580,000 live hours and 75,000 prerecorded programs per year. Our clients include every major broadcasting company and most cable networks as well as program producers, corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies.

Client FAQs
Q: Does VITAC have a library of caption/subtitle files?

A: We archive every offline caption and subtitle file that we produce. And since captioning can be disrupted if you attempt to edit a captioned video, we can reformat or edit your caption file at a highly discounted rate, and redeliver the file to you.

Client FAQs
Q: Can captions be created in different languages?

A: Closed captions can be created for any language that uses Roman characters, with some character limitations for accents such as the German umlaut. (The technology, however, always is evolving and some of the newer caption encoders are able to work with nontraditional characters.)

Captions most commonly are created in English, Spanish, French, Italian, or German.

Subtitles can be created in any language. (LINK TO MULTI-LANGUAGE SERVICES PAGE)

Client FAQs
Q: Will captions be lost if I edit my video?

A: Most video edits will corrupt encoded or timed caption data. A very careful editor who keeps the captions in mind and sight while making small edits may be successful.

Client FAQs
Q: What video formats does VITAC accept and caption?

A: VITAC can accept and add open or closed captions to nearly any video format. Customers who only need caption files send us proxy, or low resolution, video. If you’d like your video delivered with captions, either encoded or in a sidecar file, we ask for a high-quality video file, and accept delivery via Signiant or Aspera.

Our in-house team offers flawless caption encoding to nearly every video format, no matter the video size. We use industry-leading workflow software to ensure all videos are analyzed, encoded, and delivered with quick turnarounds and assured video quality.

Some of the more popular digital formats include MOV (all supported codecs), MP4, MPEG: 2 MXF, MPEG: 2 program streams, MPEG-2: transport streams, and 264: transport streams.

Contact us for more details on specific file types and video formats.

Client FAQs
Q: How are live, or realtime, captions created?

A: Live programming is captioned by specially trained realtime captioners who listen to a program as it is airing and “write” or respeak what they hear, sometimes at speeds of up to 250 words per minute. These words are fed into customized software which transmits the captions to display them live on your television screen. Read more about our realtime caption services.

Client FAQs
Q: How are offline, or prerecorded, captions created?

A: Captions are created by highly trained captioners who listen to the program audio and transcribe words, sound effects, and music to give you a full sense of what is happening in the audio track of the program. Captions are timed to sync with the program audio, and placed to match the speakers on the screen. The program is then watched all the way through to ensure accuracy in the timing, transcription, and overall readability. Read more about our offline captioning services.

Client FAQs
Q: How much does it cost to caption a video?

A: The price of captioning depends on many factors, including length of the program, number of episodes/volume of work, turnaround time required, caption style, and encoded deliverable. Contact us for specific details!