Accessible communication (and, at times, the lack thereof) has been an important topic of discussion over these past few months as viewers across the country have watched daily COVID-19 news conferences, governor updates, and press briefings to keep current with public health and safety information.
However, some in the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHOH) community have found that the updates aren’t always accessible, with some lacking captions or sign language interpretation.
Timely and accurate communication is crucial in all emergency situations. But these situations bring an even more unique set of challenges for DHOH individuals, specifically those who depend on captions and sign language during emergency broadcasts.
There are rules and regulations in place to guarantee accessible communications.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that state and local governments make their programs, services, and activities accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that federal agencies make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities, including adding captions to online video.
VITAC has a long, successful history working with local governments and federal agencies, and we offer a variety of solutions to meet ADA and Section 508 requirements. VITAC’s government captioning services cover everything from city council and school board meetings to state legislatures to federal agencies to archived videos to prerecorded informational materials, and many government clients use our audio description solutions to provide accessibility for individuals who are blind or with low-vision.
Our government customers were the first to caption online video, and we’re proud of our work with the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, just to name a few.
Below are examples of how our government captioning solutions can work for you.
VITAC provided live, realtime captions for cable television broadcasts of Seattle City council meetings, including committee and special meetings, ensuring that all viewers have equal access to government discussions and decisions. The captioned council meetings also were archived for playback on the air and online at the city’s government access channel and YouTube site.
We’ve worked with the Center for Disease Control to create near-immediate transcripts of press conferences and announcements. Our live captioners deliver the initial transcript, with some errors, 15 minutes after the end of a meeting. Our offline captioners then clean up the transcript, delivering a final, accurate, synchronous video with quick turnaround.
We also provide live captions for training videos and events as well as pre-recorded captions for emergency news services and updates for a federal healthcare services agency.
VITAC provides realtime captions for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees working at an award-winning state park system with more than 180 state parks and nearly three dozen historic sites.
And though we’re still a few months away from this November’s general election, campaign ads already are overtaking the airways and will only increase as we move into the fall. Most political commercials must be captioned, and we work with commercial producers to offer quick turnaround of political spots.
VITAC is an industry leader in captioning services, and we continue to expand into new areas of media with our government agency customers. We put client service first, and stand ready to work closely with all of our partners to ensure the DHOH community has access to the most accurate and timely captions, whether it be in the media and entertainment, corporate, education, or government services sectors.