Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PBS now offering online captions for complete fall season videos?

Yesterday, I happened to discover that PBS.org had started to provide closed captions for Masterpiece Theater earlier this fall season. I found this out on my own after learning on Facebook.com that "Return to Cranford" had been put online; I went to the PBS.org site, clicked on the video, and was first presented with an uncaptioned video (an ad). When the Masterpiece Theater video started playing, I noticed that there was a "CC" option in the player (after bringing my cursor into the area of the video), and then clicked on it to turn on the CC. (It's necessary to bring the video back to the beginning in order to catch all the dialog.)

(I've learned since this discovery that PBS hadn't apparently made the captioning work for Internet Explorer yet. I was using the free Google Chrome browser. I would expect PBS to make the captions work with all browsers, however.)

Many other videos are available with captions at other web sites, too. TED.com began providing English subtitles for every single one of its videos years ago (depending on availability, volunteers then translate the subtitles into other languages). CNET.com was perhaps the first non-television web site to announce that they would start captioning their videos. (New CNET videos can take a couple of days to get captioned.) Hulu.com offers captions for virtually all dramas and comedies from ABC, NBC and Fox and some series from pay TV networks. CBS.com started offering captions on its videos earlier this year (2011). MSNBC.com quietly started offering a combination of subtitles/captions and an interactive transcript without any fanfare or a press release. (YouTube.com, a hosting source for videos from amateurs as well as many businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational facilities, hosts numerous eclectic videos with captions, though some videos can be found with subtitles or lyrics imprinted onto the video instead. Since many people have put the lyrics onto videos of popular songs, YouTube can be a great way for people with hearing loss to finally understand the lyrics to those songs and how they are sung.)

The U.S. 21st Century Video and Communications Accessibility Act, signed into law in 2010, will require all U.S. television programs that were originally captioned and which are displayed online to be provided with captions. Thus it can be expected that more and more U.S. web sites will start providing captions for their online videos very soon. Soon, if we've missed the broadcast of a television program, we'll be able to catch up with that television program if it's provided online!

If you've found other sources of captioned or subtitled videos, please comment on those sources and share the URLs with us.


PrinceG1975 said...

Thanks for the info! If you like Downton Abbey, you might like this. I caption videos for my Deaf and hard of hearing friends. I hope you enjoy!


Dana said...

Very nice captioning job---and a delightfully funny video! (I *had* watched Downton Abbey, so I could really appreciate the satire!) Thanks for doing this!