Captioning and Subtitling Services

Archive for the ‘Accessibility’ Category

Are You Compliant with New Federal Captioning Guidelines?

New Federal Captioning Guidelines – Beginning January 18, 2018, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was “refreshed” to require that information and communication technology in the public sector, especially web content, be accessible to all.  Section 508 addresses not only federal agencies but is widely applied to state and local entities such as colleges and universities that receive federal funding.  If you represent such an agency, are you compliant with new federal captioning guidelines?


According to GCN: Technology, Tools and Tactics for Public Sector IT, Section 508 deals with electronic services including “web page content, PDF documents, and audio and video content,”  specifying requirements to ensure that all web content is accessible to people with disabilities, such as deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.  These guidelines, which were ordered in January of 2017, are meant to keep pace with rapid advances in technology, such as the rising use of Internet video and live webcasts across devices.

New Federal Captioning Guidelines and Requirements

To achieve its goals, Section 508 incorporates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.  WCAG 2.0 defines how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Of particular interest to federal agencies using video web content, Success Criterion 1.2.2 of WCAG 2.0 states, “Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media.”  Examples of prerecorded synchronized media might include video tutorials or artistic performances.  Success Criterion 1.2.4 states, “Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media,” and examples include live news webcasts or realtime artistic performances.  In both cases, captions should provide dialogue AND non-speech information such as sound effects and other significant audio.

State and Local Captioning Requirements

Although New Federal Captioning Guidelines Section 508 places requirements on federal agencies, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act may also require colleges and universities receiving federal funds to adhere to Section 508.  According to the EDUCAUSE Review, institutions of higher education are now facing class-action lawsuits over the issue of accessible websites.  Based on complaints from advocacy groups such as the National Association of the Deaf and the U.S. Department of Education, “Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities.”

CompuScripts Can Help with New Federal Captioning Guidelines

If you represent a federal agency or an institution of higher learning which produces Internet video content, CompuScripts can bring you into compliance with Section 508 captioning requirements.  CompuScripts offers both realtime and postproduction captioning services.  Additionally, CompuScripts is endorsed by the Described and Captioned Media Program, which is administered by the National Association of the Deaf and funded by the U.S. Department of Education.   Contact CompuScripts Captioning to help your agency or school comply with Section 508.


A Christmas Gift Idea for Kids

Books make great holiday gifts for kids, and numerous reports link leisure reading to increased vocabulary, school success, and heightened empathy. But when you’re shopping for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, what are the best choices?

Kids like reading about characters whom they resemble, and in their diversity statement, the Children’s Book Council states, “All children deserve to see themselves in story.” So with that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to books which feature deaf or hard-of-hearing characters in primary roles. And since everyone loves a good story, consider these for the hearing children on your list as well!

El Deafo, by Cece Bell. This graphic memoir tells the story of a profoundly deaf child whose new hearing aid makes her feel like a superhero, hence the book’s title.   Kirkus Review calls this “a humorous and touching graphic memoir about finding friendship and growing up deaf.” Ages 8 and up.

Leading Ladies, by Marlee Matlin and Doog Cooney. This book, number three in the “Deaf Child Crossing” series, tells the story of Megan Merrill, a deaf fourth-grader who is auditioning for the part of Dorothy in a musical version of The Wizard of Oz. Will she get the part, or will it go to her best friend, Julie? Kirkus Review says, “This rare glimpse into the life of a child growing up deaf is an invaluable contribution to juvenile fiction.” Ages 8-10.

Silence in the Wild: A Summer in Maine, by Dale C. Jellison.   Jake Graham, a deaf boy of twelve, is adjusting to his first summer at camp when he finds himself alone in the wilderness without benefit of hearing aids. This coming of age story, published in 2014, is not yet reviewed. Ages 11-13.

The Flying Fingers Club Mystery Series, by Jean F. Andrews.   Matt, who is deaf, teaches his friend Donald to sign, and together they form the “Flying Fingers” club to solve mysteries. Titles include “The Flying Fingers Club,” “Secret in the Dorm Attic,” and “Mystery of the Totems.”   Booklist says, “The underlying theme, that two boys can have a close friendship regardless of one having a disability, comes through as Donald learns sign language and paves the way for other classmates to befriend hearing-impaired Matt.” Ages 8-11

To spread additional cheer amongst deaf and hard-of-hearing children, visit the web site of the Described and Captioned Media Program for their holiday list of accessible media. Titles include “The Gift of the Magi,” “Seven Candles for Kwanzaa,” and “In the Month of Kislev.”

Christmas ElfCompuScripts Captioning offers effective communication to assist you with compliance of the Americans with Disabilities Act by offering closed captioning and subtitling services to public and private venues.  CompuScripts Captioning is endorsed by the Described and Captioned Media Program, which is administered by the National Association of the Deaf and funded by the U. S. Department of Education.  Achieving DCMP “Approved Captioning Service Vendor” status is a prestigious honor in the captioning industry.  Of those who participate in the rigorous evaluation process to acquire Approved Vendor status, only half actually earn the distinction.  CompuScripts Captioning also enjoys the distinction of being a YouTube Ready captioning vendor through DCMP.

Sports Captioning Interview

As the University of South Carolina heads towards its last home football game of the 2014 season, we’d like to introduce you to one of our most experienced captioners, Joniel. This is the second season of Gamecock football for which Joniel has provided stadium captioning. The addition of stadium captioning at Williams-Brice Stadium allows the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to enjoy the public address announcements, song lyrics, videos, halftime performances, and anything else that is heard over the P.A. during breaks in the action. Below, you’ll find Joniel’s thoughts on love (of sports), loss (of one of her favorite players), and the “magical” names on the Gamecock roster.

CompuScripts Captioning: How did you get into closed captioning?

Joniel: I got into closed captioning when, during my work as a deposition reporter, I was encouraged by my then-boss (who is a true sister of my heart) to embrace the discipline, purchase captioning software, and provide services for a new client of her firm that required captioning. This occurred during the mid-1990s.

CC: What types of programs have you captioned during your career?

Joniel: My initial focus was government: council meetings, school boards, commissions. It has expanded to financial calls, news programs, sports-centric programs, both games and recaps, educational, devotional, local entertainment, cooking, and local-interest programs. I caption high school and college football games.   I also use my captioning skills for onsite CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) presented to either individual participants who need text of a meeting or to a large audience. I have captioned the gamut of programs!

CC: You mentioned sports-centric programming. Are you a sports fan generally? What are your favorite teams?

Joniel: I am a sports fan. My particular interest is the Cleveland Indians because I caption their games often, and I admit to having a private connection: When I was a teenager, my sister’s husband was an outfielder on one of the Cleveland Indians’ farm teams. I avidly follow their progress each year, whether I caption their games or not. My 15-year-old grandson is quite a good little league player. I also follow the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, as well as the Cleveland Browns and, of course, the USC Gamecocks. I have become a football fan mostly because I am now involved in captioning the Gamecocks’ home football games, and that has led me to follow and appreciate other teams.

CC: What are the greatest challenges in stadium captioning?

Joniel: The challenges relate mostly to not having a “view” of what the audience is seeing. I communicate with [CompuScripts’ owner] Debbie Dusseljee via text message, along with the control person onsite.

CC: What do you enjoy most about stadium captioning?

Joniel: I enjoy the football games I stadium caption because I feel more like a spectator than a captioner. The actual game-time captioning is less stressful because the audio I receive is a synopsis of the action rather than a play-by-play version, as is the case for network sports captioning. However, my pregame and halftime responsibilities include assembly, proofreading, and presenting a detailed script of the ceremonial events which occur during each game.

CC:   Have you developed any favorite Gamecock players while captioning?

Joniel: Since I have captioned the Gamecocks for two years, I’ve developed favorites for each year. I thought Jadeveon Clowney (of course!) was a HERO last year. Sadly, he’s graduated. This year Sharrod Golightly and Pharoh Cooper are my favorites, mostly because I think their names are magical. I have no way of “seeing” other than through “hearing.”

CC: What have you learned about the University of South Carolina and Gamecock football while providing the stadium captioning?

Joniel: I have learned that the tradition of USC Gamecocks football is as close to a spiritual belief as I’ve ever witnessed. The Gamecock Crow, 2001 Space Odyssey, Sandstorm, the Mighty Sound of the Southeast, as well as the student-athletes all factor into the tradition, and the spectacle becomes complete and absorbing. It is welcoming and nurturing as well.

Joniel's Captioning Suite

Joniel’s Captioning Suite and Stenomachine

Is your sports franchise interested in bringing captioning to your stadium’s deaf and hard-of-hearing audience? CompuScripts Captioning has been providing stadium captioning since 2011. We’d love for you to contact us about providing stadium captioning to your team’s fans!

Looming Internet FCC Compliance Deadline

CompuScripts Captioning, an approved captioning service vendor of the Described and Captioned Media Program, would like to update our captioning clients on this year’s FCC compliance deadlines as stipulated in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. As a reminder, The CVAA addresses the closed captioning of Internet video programming.

These FCC compliance deadlines, which were first implemented in 2012, require that full-length Internet video programming feature closed captions if the program first appeared on television with captions. Movies and consumer-produced videos shown on the Internet are not required to feature captions unless they were first shown on television with captions.

Mar 2014 Deadline

Mar 2014 Deadline

As of September 30, 2013, the following categories of Internet video programming must feature closed captions: pre-recorded video that has not been edited for the Internet; pre-recorded video that has been edited for the Internet; and live or near-live video. The new FCC compliance deadlines address archival Internet video programming, mandating that within 45 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions, on or after March 30, 2014, and before March 30, 2015, video programming that a distributor already shows on the Internet must feature closed captions. In 2015, distributors will have 30 days in which to caption their Internet video programming. In 2016, distributors will have only 15 days in which to caption their Internet video programming.

Since 1999, CompuScripts Captioning has been offering closed captioning and subtitling services for broadcast, webcast, and DVD media. Our services are customized for your particular workflow and deliverables, as well as your budget. For assistance on how your Internet video programming might meet FCC compliance deadlines, or to request a quote, contact us at You may also contact our Caption Coordinator, Stacey Wilson, at or 1.888.849.9698

Cochlear Implants and Classroom CART

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, 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

Communication Access Realtime Translation and the Deaf Student: Gooooo, CART!

Classroom ChalkboardAh, 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, or call 1.888.849.9698.