9 Facts about Closed Captions You Probably Didn't Know About

November 05, 2015

Captions are defined as the transcription and translation of dialogues, sound effects, musical cues, and other relevant audio information when sound is not available or unclear. They have made the life of many people easier since they're implementation in the early 70's. Here are a few facts you probably didn't know about closed captions and captioning.
    1. The first captioned show ever to be aired was no other than "The French Chef", the famous 1960's cooking show with Julia Child. It was an open caption show, and after this one, many followed. Even though the show initially aired in 1962, it was 10 years later when it was finally aired with captions included.

    2. The first captions were open, meaning they were always visible to all viewers, as opposed to closed captions that can be turned on or off. Closed captions are the ones that are currently used.

    3. Closed captions are encoded in the TV signal, so they can be activated or de-activated according to the viewer's preference. The first closed captioned TV shows aired in the 80's.

    4. For most of the world, the terms captions and subtitles are interchangeable. However, in the US and Canada, they have different meanings. In these countries, subtitles are defined as targeted to people who can hear but do not know the sounding language or do not understand the accent or parts of the speech due to them being unclear. Captions aim to create a written description of all significant audible content (including non-speech information) for the hearing impaired.

    5. As of 1990, it is mandatory in the US that all televisions that are 13 inches or larger contain caption decoders. In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that all broadcast and cable TV shows must include captioning.

    6. The role of closed captions has evolved throughout the years. Now it has been found to be used as an educational tool for people learning to read and for people learning a second language.

    7. In fact, a study carried out by the Office of Communication (Ofcom) in the UK, showed that 80% of people used closed captions for reasons other than hearing loss. According to Ofcom, those who also benefit from closed captions include people who speak English as a second language and use it to follow speech more easily. Additionally, closed captions can help with understanding of quick dialogue, different accents, or to overcome background noises. They can also help maintain concentration, providing a better experience for viewers with learning disabilities, attention deficits such as ADD and ADHD, and other conditions. Captions also let viewers watch videos in sound-sensitive environments, such as hospitals or libraries.

    8. Closed captioning can be done for real-time broadcasts such as sports matches, press conferences, live news reports, and other events. To accomplish this, reporters trained to write at super-fast speed (over 225 words per minute) are able to grant instant access to the deaf or hard-of-hearing via this type of broadcasting. Real-time captioners use a steno machine. The delay is, amazingly, just 2-3 seconds of the spoken words.

    9. If you want to understand a little better why closed captions are so important nowadays, watch this video and experience first-hand what a hearing impaired person would feel like if they couldn't sense or understand what they were watching.
So if you wish to make your videos accessible to a broader audience by including closed captions, subtitles or if you need video transcription and translation services, you should give us a call at (305) 992-6756 or send us a message. We at Caption iMAGE are here to help you with quality services at affordable prices.