Captioning and Subtitling Services

In our June 2013 blog, we discussed the use of CART, or Communication Access Realtime Translation, by Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing students in college classrooms.  This month, we look at a group of students whose need for CART services might not be immediately apparent:  those with cochlear implants.

Many people incorrectly believe that once a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing student is fitted with a cochlear implant, hearing is restored, and the need for classroom accommodations disappears.  This belief may be due to a misunderstanding of the difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants.  Hearing aids, which attach to the outer ear, amplify sounds.  Cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear, bypass damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders explains how a cochlear implant works:

  1. A microphone picks up sound from the environment.
  2. A speech processor arranges sounds gathered from the microphone.
  3. A transmitter and a receiver/stimulator convert signals from the speech processor into electric impulses.
  4. An electrode relays these electric impulses to the auditory nerve.

From there, the impulses travel to the brain, which recognizes them as sound.  This new hearing, however, is different from biologic hearing and takes time to learn.  As the regulatory agency of medical products and procedures, the Food and Drug Administration reminds educators that students need time to adjust to their cochlear implants, and they do so at different rates.  On its website, the FDA states, “During the accommodation period, students need language input from all the sources they used before their implants.”  These may include sign language interpreters, note-takers, or speech-to-text services such as CART.

It is not necessary for the CART provider to be in the classroom with the student.  In this scenario, the classroom instructor wears a wireless microphone during the lecture, and the student’s laptop is connected to the microphone base station.  The student and the CART provider connect via SKYPE, and the highly skilled provider uses a stenomachine as well as special software to convert the instructor’s speech to text. This text is then streamed to an Internet browser-based application, giving the student instant access to the lecture content on his or her laptop.

And students are not the only users of cochlear implants who may benefit from CART services.  CART is frequently used in business meetings, religious services, and medical evaluations by people using cochlear implants.

If you are a student who uses a cochlear implant and are interested in CART accommodation in the classroom, have your college’s disability services office contact CompuScripts Captioning.  If you are a representative of a college disabilities services office and are in need of a CART provider for a student using a cochlear implant, contact CompuScripts Captioning’s president, Deborah Dusseljee, at ddusseljee@compuscripts.com, or call 1.888.849.9698.

Tackling Stadium Captions

2014 can’t come soon enough for college football fans in South Carolina.  USC will face Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, and Clemson takes on Ohio State at the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3.  For the fan lucky enough to attend, certain elements of Game Day are requirements:
1. Body paint in team colors
2. Uncle (his name here)’s famous chicken wings
3. Photos with Cocky or the Tiger (or a Badger or Buckeye, if you must)

Example of Stadium Captions on a Ribbon Board

Example of Stadium Captions on a Ribbon Board

These are aspects of the stadium experience that are available to everyone.  Now, thanks to sports stadium and arena captioning, things like public address announcements or half-time ceremonies may also be enjoyed by the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community at sporting events across the country.

From the University of Arizona’s Sun Devil Stadium to the Washington Redskins’ FedExField, more and more sports stadiums and arenas are offering captions to their fans.  In 2012, the University of South Carolina began captioning Gamecock football at Williams-Brice Stadium.  A ribbon board below the “Beast Board” positioned on the right-hand side displays captions of the pregame show, the halftime show, announcers’ play-by-play, sponsors’ ads, and officials’ calls.  CompuScripts Captioning is proud to be the captioning service provider for the Gamecocks.

“I am so excited about this addition to our football stadium,” said Dr. Karen Pettus, director of the office of student disability services at the University of South Carolina, in “Gamecocks Online.”  “The addition of the closed caption ribbon board will ensure that everyone who attends a home football game has the full South Carolina game day experience.  It is a pleasure to work with an athletics department that values the diversity of our university community.”

Sports stadiums and arenas that do not offer caption services are finding themselves under increased pressure to do so by advocacy groups such as the National Association of the Deaf.  In September, NAD lawyers filed suit against the University of Maryland and several of its officials, citing “…a failure to provide captioning of announcements and commentary made over the public address systems during athletic events at Byrd Stadium and the Comcast Center.”  The suit was filed on behalf of two Deaf fans who regularly attend University of Maryland sporting events.  In 2010, pressure from the NAD was instrumental in Ohio State University’s agreement to provide captioning at its football and basketball games.

CompuScripts Captioning is experienced in providing the most accurate sports stadium and arena captioning and text-streaming services.  If you are a representative of a sports stadium or arena and would like more information about our sports captioning services, please contact Deborah Dusseljee at 1.888.849.9698 or ddusseljee@compuscripts.com

CompuScripts Captioning believes in offering clients the quickest turnaround for every budget.  Before we can give you an accurate quote, we’d like you to do some homework.  Having the following information at hand will allow us to start your captioning project right away!

What to Know When Requesting a Quote for Your Postproduction Broadcast Project

  1. In what format do you need your captioned master video?  This is best answered by the broadcast station airing your program.  Does the broadcaster want a videotape or digital format?  (Most broadcasters have made the transitioned to digital formats.)  If a digital format is expected for delivery, what are the specifications?  These are highly nuanced.  Your station may want high definition or standard definition video.  They will require a specific finished file wrapper and particular audio and video codecs. If your sales contact at the station cannot answer these questions, ask to speak to the station engineer.  This information is essential in building a quote that will accurately reflect the ultimate invoice for your captioned project.
  2. What are you giving CompuScripts to work with?  First, it is important that the audio of your master video meets FCC requirements.  Second, your master video has to be ready to be ingested into the station’s broadcast server complete and finished, except for the captions, when we receive it.  If it is not, we must know the specifications of your station’s broadcast server in order to create a new master.  Again, speak with your station’s engineer, as stations may use different broadcast servers for different types of programming.  Delivering your program to us in a format that meets the station’s specifications will get you the quickest turnaround and save you money by eliminating the need to reformat your video. 
  3. When does the station need delivery of your production?  This is not the same as your program’s air date.  Stations may need your program a week or more in advance, especially if they require a digital format.  For the quickest turnaround and the most budget-friendly quote, plan to deliver your program to us with sufficient time to meet your station’s deadline.
  4. Know your captioning options. Before contacting us for a quote, view our services menu at ccaptioning.com.  CompuScripts offers postproduction, broadcast realtime, and Internet captions, and there are options within each category for every budget.  CompuScripts will help you choose the right option for your intended audience and get you the quickest turnaround possible.

Having this information at hand when you call will allow us to build an accurate quote that suits your quality expectations and budget requirements.

Ah, June.  High school exams are finished.  Graduation has been celebrated.  There’s nothing left for the college-bound student to do but choose a roommate and learn the school fight song.

Unless we’re talking about a deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) student.

Then, there are meetings with disability services offices.  Accommodations to classroom lectures must be arranged before the start of the new semester.  In the past, the only options would have been the employment of a sign language interpreter or a note taker.  Thankfully, advances in technology have given the deaf or HOH student another option:  Communications Access Realtime Translation, or CART.

CART is best thought of as realtime captioning outside the broadcast realm.  It is often utilized in business meetings, conferences, religious services, or medical evaluations in which an HOH participant is present.  It also allows a student who is hearing challenged to immediately access a spoken classroom presentation.

While the CART provider may be in the classroom with the student, it is now possible for the provider to work from a remote location.  In this arrangement, the classroom instructor wears a wireless microphone during the lecture, and the student’s laptop is connected to the microphone base station.  The student and the CART provider connect via SKYPE, and the provider uses a stenomachine as well as special software to convert the instructor’s speech to text.  This text is then streamed to an Internet browser-based application, giving the student almost instant access to the lecture content.

If you are a deaf or hard-of-hearing student who is interested in CART accommodation in the classroom, have your college’s disability services office contact CompuScripts Captioning.  If you are a representative of a college disabilities services office and are in need of a CART provider, contact CompuScripts Captioning’s president, Deborah Dusseljee, at ddusselljee@compuscripts.com, or call 1.888.849.9698.

Just as an unfurling flag displays itself, so too our symbol of freedom reveals the scars and triumphs from days gone by, as well as hopes and dreams in the days ahead.

FCC Link

Captioning Internet Video Programming3 INTERNET CAPTIONS ICON & COPY IN CURVES PNG

Live and near-live video programming must be captioned on the Internet if it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2013. Near-live video programming is defined as programming that is performed and recorded less than 24 hours before being shown on TV for the first time.

Archival Internet Video Programming

The following deadlines apply to video programming that a distributor already shows on the Internet. Distributors have extra time to add captions to video programming that they already show on the Internet and that is later shown on TV with captions, as follows:

  • Within 45 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2014 and before March 30, 2015;
  • Within 30 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2015 and before March 30, 2016; and
  • Within 15 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2016

Caption Editor Profile

Meet Jesika, one of our youngest postproduction closed captioning editors.

Caption Editor

Caption Editor

CC: Tell us about your background.

Jesika:  I was born in Washington.  I made my way to Germany in college, reinforcing my love of gray, cloudy skies.  I graduated from Columbia College, a private liberal arts women’s college in Columbia, S. C., with a B. A. in English with a minor in art.

CC:  How did college prepare you for postproduction closed captioning?

Jesika:  At Columbia College, I received instruction on the craft of writing and editing.  I also worked as a writing tutor.  Between grammar classes and hands-on journalism experience, I learned how to form sentences properly, which makes it easier to break them down for transcription.  Punctuation is important in quality closed captioning.  A poorly punctuated sentence can cause confusion for the viewer.

CC:  What do you like best about postproduction closed captioning?

Jesika:  I like having the opportunity to play around with words.  Some of the programs we caption at CompuScripts Captioning are especially entertaining; I never thought I’d become a fan of old Westerns!

CC:  CompuScripts is a YouTube Ready Qualified Vendor.  Do you have any favorite YouTube videos?

Jesika:  Some YouTube videos I’ve enjoyed in the past include Evolution of Dance, Maru, and wacky music videos.  MysteryGuitarMan’s videos are also fun.  The stop-motion animation of an Excelspreadsheet is amazing!

CC:  Do you have any hobbies?

Jesika: My current interests are writing, studying languages, and designing t-shirts.  I enjoy urban fantasy books and television, and “Star Wars” has always been one of my top movies.  Lately, I’ve been listening to music by The Starlight Mints and Culcha Candela.  I’m also a foodie.  A Whole Foods just opened nearby, and it’s hazardous to the wallet!

CC:  If you ever join the circus, for what act will postproduction closed captioning prepare you?

Jesika:  Juggling.  In postproduction closed captioning, you’re always multitasking.  Between transcribing video, editing scripts, and putting time code to captions, there is a lot involved in producing quality closed captions.

CC:  CompuScripts can deliver postproduction closed captioning in pop-on, roll-up, realtime, or subtitle formats.  Do you have a favorite format to watch?

Jesika:  I prefer pop-on captions.  I like how pop-on allows for speaker identification.  I also like how the on-screen placement of the pop-on caption can affect the meaning of the caption.  Because of the editing involved and the attention to time cuts, the pop-on caption becomes a part of the video.

CC:  CompuScripts produced a YouTube sample video about the South Carolina Lizard Man.  If you were charged with our next YouTube video, what would it be?

Jesika:  There was talk in the office about a YouTube video featuring grammar zombies.  While I don’t know if zombification is the way to go, I think some sort of lexical battle is in order.

CC:  If CompuScripts Captioning ever becomes a musical workplace, a la television’s “Glee,” what song will you sing?

Jesika:  “Interjections!” from “Schoolhouse Rock.”   As it explains, interjections are great for when you’re happy, sad, frightened, mad, or glad.  That pretty much covers any sort of day.

CC:  Describe your dream postproduction closed captioning job.

Jesika:  A hyperkinetic cartoon or sci-fi action series.  There would never be a dull moment!

We would like to share our favorite twisted idiom.

“Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

Netflix and NAD Agreement

ImageAfter two years in federal court, Netflix, Inc. and the National Association of the Deaf have submitted a joint Consent Decree which will ensure closed captions in 100% of Netflix streaming content by September 30, 2014.

As of October 9, 2012, the date of the decree, Netflix affirmed that 82% of its streaming content was available with closed captions.  Netflix must now achieve a captioned rate of 90% of its streaming content by September 30, 2013.  Additionally, by 2016, new on-demand streaming content must be available with closed captions within seven days of its launch.  In meeting the deadlines specified in the decree, Netflix agreed to prioritize its most highly-viewed programming for the inclusion of closed captions.

Commenting on the agreement, Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of NAD, said, “The National Association of the Deaf congratulates Netflix for committing to 100% captioning, and is thrilled to announce that 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to fully access Netflix’s Watch Instantly services.”  Within Netflix, “Watch Instantly” refers to the company’s streaming content services.

Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer, also responded positively.  “We have worked consistently to make the broadest possible selection of titles available to Netflix members who are deaf or hard of hearing and are far and away the industry leader in doing so.  We are pleased to have reached this agreement and hope it serves as a benchmark for other providers of streaming video entertainment,” he said.

To read the National Association of the Deaf’s announcement of the Consent Decree in its entirety, go to http://www.nad.org/news/2012/10/netflix-and-national-association-deaf-reach-historic-agreement-provide-100-closed-capti

To read the Consent Decree in its entirety, go to http://dredf.org/captioning/netflix-consent-decree-10-10-12.pdf

Friday, March 1

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