The Way to Accurate Closed Captions

What Does Verbatim Mean?

In Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary it states that verbatim means: In the exact words: word for word

Your captioning provider must make sure they caption exactly what the speaker says to convey the most accurate message to the closed-captioning viewer. The deaf and hard of hearing do not have any special privileges—they do not get to read perfected grammar while the hearing listen to poor grammar. Consider a movie. One of the characters is an immigrant from a foreign country and speaks broken English.  If they correct his or her grammar, the deaf person is getting conveyed a completely different message, which can entirely change the story-line.

And don't forget, the FCC will monitor your captioning for accuracy.

Not missing a word

The closed captioning provider should make sure that every word the speaker actually says is captioned. There is an exception: If the speaker jumps around quickly and doesn’t make much sense, the transcriber and/or caption editor might edit out a few nonessential words—this is a judgment call they will make whether or not you add the words or keep them excluded.

Errors in the transcript

Although transcribers typically strive do their best, they are only human and are apt to making mistakes—errors and typos are inevitable. The caption editor must be sure to keep their eye out for easy errors, typical typos, and messy mistakes.

Editing stutters

Even though captions should be verbatim, captioning providers should not caption any stuttering. Stuttering is annoying to hear and even more annoying to read. It can make a program very difficult to follow if it is included in the captions.

All in all, the whole point of closed-captioning is to convey the message in a way that is easy for the closed-captioning viewer to follow. It is much easier to ignore stuttering as a listener, but much harder to overlook it while reading.