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.