Captioning and Subtitling Services

Posts tagged ‘assistive technology’

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?

Overview

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.

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!

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 ddusselljee@compuscripts.com, or call 1.888.849.9698.

Mobile and Accessibility Experts Begin Tour

G3ict Lauches Global Briefing Tour

June 4, 2012, the FCC hosted the inaugural session of the M-Enabling Global Briefing Tour entitled “New Milestones for Mobile Accessibility: How Innovation Benefits Users and Transforms the Global Accessible and Assistive Technologies Eco-System.”  The G3ict is an advocacy initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ITC and Development.

With the fast-pace of new apps and services appearing on the market for mobile users, there are many opportunities for the aging population and persons with disabilities to benefit from the latest innovations for mobile phones and tablets.  Click here to access the open captioned archive for this informative exchange among mobile and accessibility experts as they discuss global accessible and assistive technologies.