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What Are Machine Generated Closed Captions?

RevBlogResourcesCaptions & SubtitlesWhat Are Machine Generated Closed Captions?

Closed captions often gets overlooked, but there are many benefits to including them in your video content.

Firstly, closed captions enables your content to be enjoyed by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Secondly, not everyone listens to a video’s audio. Did you know that 80% of social media users watch videos on mute, and around 69% of people view videos in public places without sound? So, if you want to really maximize your audience, closed captions are essential. Lastly, closed captions help to boost your SEO efforts and get your content in front of the right people.

With all of those fantastic benefits, you might be considering trying it out for yourself. But what if you don’t have the skills, time, or budget to create quality closed captions? 

 Machine-generated closed captions , or automatic closed captions (ACC), might be the answer. 

What are Closed Captions?

Closed captions (CC) appear as text on your screen and represent the speech and sounds in videos and live streams. Unlike subtitles, CC’s include extra elements such as background noises, music, speaker differentiation, and descriptions. Plus, those important non-dialogue audio cues such as “sighs” or “laughs.” 

High-quality closed captions can do so much more than provide words on your screen. They can help you rank higher in search engines, boost engagement, and enhance the overall viewer experience.

What are Machine Generated Closed Captions?

Machine-generated closed captions or automated captions are created using non-human methods. As a standard, the software is made up of three components. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, machine learning technology (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) all help provide videos with automatic speech-to-text captions in real-time. 

The ASR component is crucial. It is what instantly recognizes the words spoken and translates them into on-screen scripts. This kind of technology can work in two ways; offline or live. Offline ASR is excellent for movies, television, or pre-recorded media. 

Live ASR allows users to create captions in real-time. This makes it perfect for anything being broadcasted live, such as TV, presentations, meetings, video calls, or other live content. 

While automatic speech recognition technology is constantly improving, the accuracy of machine-generated closed captions can vary. Things like microphone quality, speaker clarity, speaker accents, dialects, background noise, homonyms, and specialized terminology can affect how the text turns out. 

Human vs. Machine Generated Captions

If you’re a frugal content creator, you may be thrilled by the affordability and fast turnaround times that machine-generated speech-to-text technology offers. However, for what it can provide in terms of speed and price, it still lacks in accuracy. Words may be misinterpreted, misspelled, or sentences may become totally jumbled. 

For someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, accurate captions are essential. When there are mistakes in portions of the dialogue, people end up missing out on parts of the narrative. Many automated services offer only over 80% accuracy. That percentage doesn’t even come close to a human captioner’s experience and ability to decipher complex audio. Things like natural dialogue that include “umms,” “aahs,” and people talking over one another still aren’t totally within the ASR’s capabilities.

Where Machine Generated Captions Are Used

If you have ever tuned in to a video on YouTube, watched someone’s Instagram Stories, or had a meeting with your boss over Zoom, chances are you’ve come across machine-generated closed captions. 

For many platforms and businesses, their efforts to improve their real-time, live captioning technology have been incredible. And it’s only going to get better. For example, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft are now offering automated captions during live video calls. 

Then there’s anything live on TV. From live sports events to news programs in the morning, they all utilize machine-generated closed captions.

Closed Captions and the Law

When it comes to video content creation- especially for the public domain- it’s always good to understand the laws behind closed captionsIn the United States, closed captioning for public television was put into place as a part of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The general outline of this law means that all public media must be accessible. So, if anything is played in a public place, it is legally required to have captions.

 In 1973, The Rehabilitation Act was passed to prevent disability discrimination. Since then, there have been some amendments, including the 504, accessibility as a civil right. Also, Amendment 508 states that certain types of electronic media must be captioned, especially for educational resources.

Closed captions are essential in today’s high-tech, video-hungry world. No matter your budget or schedule, there’s an automated or human service to help you create the user-friendly content you need