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What is ‘Respeaking’?

Respeaking is a common method used to create captions and subtitles in many countries…but what does it mean?

Respeaking is done by a professional “respeaker” to create captions or subtitles for live and pre-recorded programming. The respeaker listens to the program’s audio and repeats what is said into a special microphone (a.k.a speech silencer), being sure to add punctuation and labels to identify speakers and sounds. Speech recognition software is used to convert the speech to text that is used to create a subtitle file for the program. The speech silencer used by the respeaker helps to improve the accuracy of the captions by removing any background noise and confusing sounds.

This method of respeaking requires the use of highly trained professionals who speak clearly, quickly and accurately. Respeakers, or speech-to-text reporters, must listen to the audio, respeak the audio quickly and accurately, and then check the output to make any necessary corrections. All of this must be done quickly, especially for live programming where the captions must appear in time with the live audio.

Due to the vocal strain from respeaking, respeakers are only advised to do 15-minute stints at a time. For live programming, broadcasters must have a team of respeakers ready to rotate throughout the program to ensure that the subtitle accuracy doesn’t decline as the respeaker’s voice becomes strained.

ASR Technology & Respeaking

Advanced Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) technology is quickly becoming an innovative partner to the process of respeaking. ASR technology, when combined with the method of respeaking, helps to improve productivity and the speed in which captions can be created.

Many broadcasters today use a combined ASR-Respeaker method of creating captions in order to ensure that they are fully utilizing their respeaker’s time. Respeakers can work faster and caption more content when using ASR technology as a supplemental tool. This change in workflow improves overall productivity as content producers are able to extend their re-speakers to more projects and use ASR technology as a supplemental tool to speed-up certain tasks or take over when a respeaker needs a break.

Our team works together with broadcasters to help them combine our advanced ASR technology, such as WinCaps or VoCaption Live, with their current method of respeaking to achieve higher productivity levels.

If you’re interested in learning more about our captioning and subtitling software and solutions and how they can benefit your operation, learn more here or contact our team directly. 

FCC vs. ADA Caption Requirements

Are your videos in compliance with FCC and ADA requirements?

Both the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) strive to protect and assist individuals with disabilities. This includes individuals who are hard-of-hearing and their rights to have full access to video programming. To ensure access to video programming, the FCC and ADA have set standards and requirements for closed captioning on live and pre-recorded programming.

Does your programming meet their standards and requirements?

Let’s find out:

FCC Requirements for closed captioning on television –

FCC rules apply to all television programming with captions. The organization states that captions must be accurate, synchronous, complete, and properly placed.

  • The program’s captions must match the spoken words while also displaying the background noises in an accurate manner.
  • Captions must be synced with the audio of the programming. Text must coincide with the spoken words and sounds at the same time and speed.
  • Captions must be included from the beginning of the programming to the end of the programming.
  • Captions should not block any important visuals on the screen, overlap causing difficulty in reading, or run off the screen.
  • It’s important to note that these rules also apply to internet video programming if the “video programming was broadcast on television in the U.S. with captions.”

ADA Compliance Laws for Closed Captioning –

The ADA closed captioning guidelines are targeted towards government institutions, public schools and universities, as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that serve the public. The closed captioning requirements for both television and online internet video content are designed to ensure that captions are being created correctly.

  • Each caption should hold 1-3 lines of text onscreen at a time, and should not exceed 3 lines.
  • Captions should have an accuracy of 99%.
  • The captioning font should be similar to Helvetica
  • Background noises, or non-speech sounds, should be added in square brackets.
  • Punctuation and both lower and upper case letters should be used
  • Captions should reflect slang words used in the audio

You can find more information about the ADA’s captioning regulations from their website linked here.

Are there any exclusions?

It’s important to understand that captioning rules only apply to videos that have been aired on television. If content has never been aired on television, then these rules do not apply. However, although not legally required to have accurate captioning, these videos should still include accurate captions. Why? Because video with captions reach a much wider audience. Videos with accurate captions help individuals who are deaf or experience hearing loss to still enjoy the content. Captions allow individuals who are only able to watch the content with the sound off to still enjoy the video. Captions improve retention rates for videos filled with important information, and deliver a better viewing experience.

Are you following FCC and ADA guidelines? If not, a complaint could be filed against you and legal actions may be taken.

Be safe, avoid potential and unnecessary legal problems by captioning your videos with accurate and correctly placed captions.

To learn more about captioning software that complies with FCC and ADA guidelines, visit our Subtitling & Captioning Page