The alternative to live captioning is using an AI software to automatically transcribe all speech-to-text. Again, AI tech can generate a transcription into the original language, or a translation into other languages. AI Speech-to-Text Software is advancing all the time and can be an ideal option for making translations available into all languages with a widget plug for attendees to choose from.
However, live captioning is recommended for single translations (eg. English speech to English text, English speech to Spanish text). The final result will be a more accurate and smooth speech-to-text experience for virtual attendees.
Including captions to any video content, including a live broadcast, is always an advantage. Captions and subtitles are now common practice on social media, and is a simple step towards accessibility. As a society we are accustomed to and almost expect the option for captions on our content.
Ideally we assume attendees are watching and listening to a broadcast in a quiet space, with headphones and no distractions. However, a part of the appeal and advantages of events in the digital space, is that attendees can attend from wherever they find themselves at that time. For example, on public transport, or with their children running around, or outside in a park ect. Having captions will significantly allow attendees to stay engaged with the event program in the circumstances that they are unable to fully hear the audio.
As an alternative to an ASL interpreter, having live captions is a necessary and welcome addition for any attendees who are hearing imparied. Find a blog dedicated to adding an ASL interpreter to a virtual event here.
If the livestream is only being shown in Zoom, anyone who has experience typing speech-to-text should work. However, if the livestream captions are intended to be shown on an external website or inside the Vimeo / YouTube player live, then the captioner also needs special equipment.
Typing fast is hard work and to improve work conditions as well as quality of output, we should let the captioners switch off every 30 minutes. In this case, always hire two people instead of just one. The only exception to this might be in a one hour meeting.
It’s really important to let speakers know that there will be captioning and a script will be helpful to the captioners. No script? At minimum, share the run of show with the correct spelling of speaker names.
Conduct a tech rehearsal just with the captioners to test that you can get their captions into the player and/or website. Zoom is very easy. Broadcast is not and requires specific captioning equipment from the captioner.