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FCC Addresses Closed Captioning Synchronization

“Does my closed captioning meet the new synchronization requirement?” The FCC Report and Order (CG docket No. 05-231) states the following regarding closed captioning synchronization:

Captioning shall coincide with the corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible, given the type of the programming. Captions shall begin to appear at the time that the corresponding speech or sounds begin and end approximately when the speech or sounds end. Captions shall be displayed on the screen at a speed that permits them to be read by viewers.

So how does this affect the current norm? Well, to start it means that using a live captioning style for a post production show doesn’t meet this requirement.  There is typically a short delay between the actual spoken words and when the captions appear on the screen when using a steno machine to caption. To remedy this, all post production shows must now be captioned by an offline caption editor, who timestamps the program using a previously written and edited transcript. This enhances quality and ensures that the spoken word and written word are in sync. Caption editors are trained to pay attention to reading speed using a words-per-minute calculation in their captioning software. This guarantees that the captions are presented at a speed that can be read by the viewers.

Don’t risk uncertainty and gamble on the possibility of rejected content, contact one of the experts at Aberdeen Broadcast Services. For more information on FCC closed captioning laws, visit: eCFR – Code of Federal Regulations. Or to read the full report submitted in February of 2014, get comfortable and check out: Closed Captioning Quality Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, FNPRM.