Closed Captioning Accessibility Tools for Video Platforms
Digital video consumption is a leading American pastime. More than 70% of the U.S. population — approximately 235 million people — watched some sort of digital video content at least once a month in 2019. That usage comes in many forms, on many different platforms. Whether you’re binging a series on Netflix, catching a couple of clips from the late night shows on YouTube, or watching an educational webinar, digital video is a regular part of everyday life.
That’s especially true now that so many of us are forced to communicate remotely. At a time when people are consuming digital video at such a high rate, it’s important to ensure that your video content is accessible for every viewer.
Closed captions are an essential accessibility tool for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (and for people with other conditions as well). According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5% of the world’s population suffers from some kind of hearing loss — that’s 466 million people. By turning a video’s audio content into text, deaf and hard of hearing viewers can understand what’s being said and better engage with the material.
This blog will examine the best closed captioning tools for some of the most popular video platforms on the market. Let’s take a closer look.
In the wake of COVID-19, people are using Zoom for everything — work, school, church, a chat with grandparents, you name it. Whether you’re on Zoom for a conference call or a virtual birthday celebration, adding closed captions to your live chat will not only benefit viewers who are deaf. Research shows that viewers want and expect captioning options, and the majority of them do not suffer from hearing loss.
With Rev Live Captions for Zoom, you can make your Zoom calls more accessible in an instant. Using Rev.ai, our industry-leading automatic speech recognition (ASR) engine, our live captioning service automatically adds real-time captions to your Zoom meetings.
Live Streaming (YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram Live)
Tool: CART Real-Time Captioners
Zoom is not the only video platform to surge in popularity during the pandemic. Other live-streaming services, including YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live have seen increased usage as well. These platforms allow events like concerts and conferences to be broadcast live to millions of viewers.
Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) is a service that can provide live captions for your live-stream. And depending on your provider, you can get those captions sent to a variety of devices. With CART captioning, human captioners are granted access to the audio of your broadcast as it’s happening and will caption that audio in real time. Those captions appear on your viewers’ screens, making your event more accessible and inclusive for everybody.
Want to learn how to make a soufflé? Looking for a good makeup tutorial? Trying to figure out how to repave your driveway? YouTube has the answers. YouTube content creators know that adding closed captions gives more viewers access to their videos. Bigger audiences mean bigger revenue.
Rev’s YouTube Captioning integration is the easiest way to get your YouTube videos captioned with just a few clicks of a button. You’ll get 99% accurate captions in 12 hours or less. Sounds pretty good, right?
There are over 7 billion people on the planet and 193 million have an active Netflix account. The powers that be at Netflix have made sure that they offer value for all their subscribers – including those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The streaming giant offers a customizable captioning feature with their platform, allowing you to change the font, size, shadow, background, and color of captions and subtitles for a more enjoyable experience.
Kaltura offers both live and on-demand video solutions for businesses, educational institutions, and individual users. Their Education Video Platform offers virtual classroom, lecture capture and webinar features that are increasingly useful in light of the pandemic.
Kaltura’s platform features multi audio track playback, as well as an integration with Rev Captions. Stanford University, the University of Missouri and Michigan State University are just a few of the institutions that use Rev in partnership with Kaltura for captioning services. With the integration, you can easily request Rev captions directly from Kaltura and push those captions to your video content. (Note: Check out our Accessibility Week Webinar with Kaltura to learn more about how you can leverage video to transform online learning.)
Wistia has updated their platform to offer a more accessible video player, including tweaks to the player’s appearance and their new audio description feature. Audio descriptions describe key visual elements in a video for people who have low or no vision. This feature allows those viewers to more accurately understand what’s happening in the video, aligning your content with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and providing a more inclusive experience for your whole audience.
Tool: Rev Vimeo Captioning Integration
If you prefer hosting your video content on Vimeo instead of YouTube, well, you’re in luck — Rev offers a captioning integration with Vimeo as well! With help from Rev, video creatives can add quality captions quickly and affordably.
Tool: Stream Closed Captioner
Approximately 3.8 million streamers broadcasted live on Twitch in February 2020. The popular streaming platform is a go-to for gamers, live reaction videos, DJ sets, and much more. To broaden the reach of your streams, you can easily install a stream closed captioner so that viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who need to keep the volume low, can understand what’s being said.
Not only is closed captioning accessible for users in one click of a mouse, but users can move the text box anywhere on the screen. If the captions are obstructing your visual experience, you can simply click and grab the text and move it to a more convenient location.
JW Player offers a wide variety of video services. Large media companies like Vox, Viacom, Vice, and National Geographic use the platform for their video needs. Thanks to our integration with JW Player, adding Rev captions to your video content is quick and easy. Learn how to add captions to your JW Player videos right here.
Cisco WebEx Video Conferencing
Tool: Webex Media View Panel
Not to be outdone by Zoom, Cisco has created its Webex product with accessibility issues in mind. Their product offers a media viewer that can accommodate third-party captioning services. And if you’re working with a sign language interpreter, you can pin their video to always see what’s being discussed.
Accessible Video for Everyone
Video consumption is here to stay. As more media companies pivot to video and more businesses figure out new creative ways to leverage video platforms, it’s important to keep accessibility for all viewers top-of-mind. Closed captions will help ensure that every person consuming your content has the visual information they need for a good experience.