What is Captions Quality and how to ensure it?

What is Captions Quality and how to ensure it?

Closed Captions are a must-have for deaf and hard to hear people comprehend and enjoy the audio-visual content.

According to DCMP (Described and Captioned Media Program), there are more than 30 million Americans with some type of hearing loss. If extended to the worldwide population, this number will easily grow to a few hundred million. This is a large population that needs effective and high-quality Closed Captions to comprehend the media content.

And it is often stated that Captions should be of “high quality” to be effective for this population.


But how does one define this “high quality” for Captions?

According to DCMP, the following are key elements of Captioning Quality:

  1. Errorless captions for each production.
  2. Uniformity in style and presentation of all captioning features.
  3. A complete textual representation of the audio, including speaker identification and non-speech information.
  4. Captions are displayed with enough time to be read completely, are in synchronization with the audio, and are not obscured by (nor do they obscure) the visual content.
  5. Equal access requires that the meaning and intention of the material are completely preserved.

Every caption service provider needs to ensure that they create “quality captions” meeting the above guidelines. And every content provider, whether a Broadcaster or a Streaming service provider, needs to ensure that they deliver high quality captions to their viewers. Failing these captioning quality standards can have a detrimental effect on their brand and people will be less enthused in signing up or continuing with their captioning/subtitling service.

Checking for all these parameters and correcting them can be resource-intensive, tedious, and cost-prohibitive. Nowadays, the same content is delivered through a variety of mediums, which may use different audio-visual content versions due to specific editing, frame rate, and other technical requirements. It is essential that the captions are also properly edited for these different content versions. Due to the sheer content volume and the cost involved in Caption/Subtitle QC & correction of each content version, captioning service providers may choose to not perform full QC on all the caption files, leading to low quality and erroneous captions. It is therefore important to bring automation in the QC process so that QC process itself becomes feasible and more manageable for everyone in the content production and delivery chain.

CapMate™, a native cloud captions verification & correction platform from Venera Technologies, allows users to automatically detect a variety of issues that affect quality. Some of these issues and their impact on quality include:

  1. Captions-Audio sync: Readability issue
  2. Detection of missing captions: Clarity issue
  3. Captions overlaid on burnt-in text: Readability issue
  4. Captions duration: Readability issue
  5. Characters per line: Readability issue
  6. Characters per second: Readability issue
  7. Words per minute: Readability issue
  8. The gap between captions: Readability issue
  9. Number of caption lines: Readability issue
  10. Spell Check: Accuracy
  11. Detection of Profane/foul words: Compliance issue
  12. Captions format compliance issues

CapMate™ not only allows Automated QC of Closed Caption and Subtitle files but it also provides for automated correction of a wide range of issues with an option for manual review. CapMate™ comes equipped with a browser-based, rich viewer tool, that allows users to review the results in detail along with an audio-video preview. This viewer application also allows users to edit the captions. Once all the edits are done (automatically or manually), corrected caption/subtitle files can be exported in order to be used in the workflow.

Usage of CapMate™ can save numerous hours which can lead to fast delivery times as well as reduced QC costs. Content providers who depend on closed captioning service providers can send detailed QC report to their vendors, reducing review iterations as well as turnaround times.

With its usage-based monthly or annual subscription plans, as well as a unique Ad-hoc pricing plan, CapMate™ can fit every budget for organizations of any size, proving to be an indispensable tool in improving the quality of captions.

Read more about CapMate™ at www.veneratech.com/capmate. You can also request a free trial on the same page.

Introducing CapMate – Taking Caption QC & Management to the Next Level

Introducing CapMate – Taking Caption QC & Management to the Next Level

By: Fereidoon Khosravi

During my face-to-face meetings and discussions with customers (during the pre-COVID times, remember those days?!) an interesting theme started to emerge. At first, it was subtle but quickly it became clear to me what they were asking for (the ‘aha’ moment!). Aside from using our QC tools (Pulsar & Quasar) for media (audio/video) QC, many of them were asking if we could do something similar for their caption and subtitle files in Pulsar or Quasar! It turns out that caption file QC and correction is quite a time consuming effort, one that for the most part was manual and labor-intensive, without a very good automated solution available. They had been looking for an automated way to not only QC their Caption files, but many also preferred an automated or interactive way to review and correct the files as well.

After studying their requirements carefully, we realized what our customers were looking for, required a set of new functionality, features, and a different interface that was best suited as a new offering which could be used in conjunction with our existing QC tools.

And now after months of hard work, and collaboration with some key customers who helped us fine tune the functionality, we are super excited to announce, ‘CapMate’, a cloud-based SaaS solution for verification *and* correction of side car caption and subtitle files!

And the name says it all, ‘Cap’ and ‘Mate’! A companion to help deal with caption related issues!

We heard our customers loud and clear and here are a few interesting features that helps CapMate stand out:

  • It is a native-cloud solution. It means it can scale up and down seamlessly providing dynamic scalability to the customers.
  • It has a usage-based pricing model, so our customers can sign up for a subscription plan that fits their volume of content.
  • We even added an industry first ad-hoc pricing! So those who don’t have ongoing caption need, can just sign up and pay for what they need, when they need it, without monthly commitment!
  • Taking advantage of Machine Learning techniques, CapMate can provide a more accurate sync analysis and in fact does an amazing job in auto-fixing various Sync issues!
  • CapMate can detect many of the pain points we have heard from our customers, from the technically challenging Standards compliance (like for SCC format) to determining whether the caption is overlaid on top of burnt-in text, to detecting profanity or spelling issues. As well as a comprehensive list of editing features!
  • We paid very close attention to content security as we know that is so important to our customers; as well as scalability so our customers won’t have any bottlenecks processing large volumes of content at the same time! CapMate is capable of processing hundreds of titles at the same time.

Using CapMate, there is a significant saving of time and cost for QC of each caption file, as CapMate can analyze and report back all the issues in a matter of minutes! Customers can get a CapMate report and share it with their caption vendor to point out what needs to be corrected.

Jack Hurley, the Director of Digital Production at Cinedigm, one of our great early adopters, had this to say: “CapMate maintains both a robust and unique feature set for checking captions on the cloud. Our ability to leverage its capabilities has drastically increased our accuracy and efficiency in verifying our growing volume of captions received. As Cinedigm forges onward into the ever-changing FAST OTT landscape, we rely on CapMate to help us serve reliable, quality captions to our audience.”

For our customers who choose to correct the caption files themselves, or for our customers who are caption vendors, with the intuitive and easy to use CapMate interactive interface, the entire process of review and correction can be done in fraction of the time that it would take for the current manual review! The customer can choose to do auto-correction or make the corrections as they are reviewing the results, and generate a new clean caption file, right on the spot!

And then if you account for our scalability and our dynamic parallel processing capability, the customer can submit hundreds of titles at a time, and get them all analyzed in parallel and receive the results back at the same time! Imagine the savings in time!

With the introduction of CapMate, we are expanding and broadening the scope of what we consider ‘Quality Control’. We can now go beyond the wide range of QC features we have for audio and video in a media file and make sure all those caption and subtitle files also meet the customer requirements.

So all those months of being cooped up because of COVID was put to good use and we are excited to announce ‘CapMate’!

Get more details about CapMate here and contact us for a demo and free trial!

P.S. Check out the splashy launch video we made announcing CapMate! See if you can spot me!