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What is captioning?

Captioning is the process of translating the audio of a program into written text that appears on the screen. The captions are formed by a specific set of rules formatted by the captioning provider as part of the video image. Captioning can be utilized in many forms of media including television, webcasts, videos, and CART. Captioning can be done in real-time as in a news broadcast or in post production as in a movie.


How does captioning work?


During a live broadcast of a newscast, webcast or special event, captions appear in real-time just a second or two behind the action to show what is being said. A stenographer listens to the broadcast and using a stenograph machine inputs the words into a specialized computer program that adds the captions to the television signal, webcast, or other live event. The real-time captioners have to be highly skilled and very fast and accurate in order to ensure high quality captions. 


What is the benefit of captioning?

Captions serve as a visual tool for the people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captioning also can be used as a learning tool for people studying or developing their English language skills or when watching television in noisy places such as restaurants or bars. Studies and surveys have found that up to 35 million Americans are hearing impaired and that number is expected to increase to more than 40 million by 2025.


Is captioning required and who regulates it?

Captioning is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and they determine what kind of media communications need to be captioned. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of telecommunications and the US policy on captioning.



Check out the links below for more articles and info on captioning:


Captioning FAQ's


Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990


Americans with Disabilities Act


Section 508


Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

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