Now Offering Accurate and Affordable AI-powered Captioning & Transcription




Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to have my television program captioned?

Federal rule requires anyone who distributes television programs directly to home viewers ("video program distributors") to make sure that those programs are captioned. Video program distributors include: local broadcast television stations, satellite television services (such as DIRECTV, Primestar, and the Dish Network), local cable television operators, and other companies that distribute video programming directly to the home.

There are some exemptions made for certain newer and low-revenue stations. You'll need to confirm with your station if they are a part of that list of exempt stations to be certain.

Does the law require captioning for the Web?

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require captions for the Web depending on your type of organization and how your content is consumed elsewhere. Anything that has been captioned for a television broadcast would also need to be captioned for the Web per FCC guidelines.

Are captions required for commercials/promos?

Short-form video content, or content with a total run time (TRT) under five (5) minutes, is not required to be captioned in the United States. However, in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) does require such content to be captioned.

What caption format can you send me for archiving my captioning?

We can send you a variety of formats for archiving. For example: .cap, .cca, .asc, .txt, .stl, .srt, xml, .mov, .smi, .tds, .cin, .onl, .scc, .ult. See more on caption exports and their uses here.

Post-Production Captioning

How long does it take for captioning?

Depending on the scope of your project, same day captioning services may be available. However, a typical timeline to be expected may be 3-5 business days.

What is the difference between "roll-up" and "pop-on" captioning?

Roll-up captioning is placed at either the bottom or top of the screen, and literally rolls up line by line in sync with the audio, with the top line disappearing as the bottom line appears. Roll-up captioning is presented with either 2 or 3 rows of captions.

Pop-on captioning pops onto the screen in sync with the audio in blocks of 1 to 3 lines, and can be placed basically anywhere so as not to cover up vital text or graphics, and can be placed to even indicate who is currently speaking.

See them in action on our Video Samples page.

What video formats can you take?

We can take all video formats (.wmv, .mov, mp4, mv4, avi, mpg, etc.) thanks to our transcoding farm that can encode your video into any format required. If having us be that final solution of captioning and delivery, see our preferred formats in our AberFast File Delivery Guidelines.

Can you handle distribution of my programming?

Yes, we have a full post-production and distribution facility that handles both tape distribution and digital distribution (see AberFast).

Can you do open captioning? What's the difference?

Yes, we can do open captioning. Open captioning is basically interchangeable with subtitles and they are permanently on the screen and can not be turned on or off. Open captions are a good solution when you know your audience with need captions, like at a kiosk in a museum.

Live Captioning

How do I get set up for live captioning?

A high-quality audio feed should be provided to the live writer working remotely, then caption data is returned to a physical or web-based caption encoder, which in turn flows downstream into your production workflow for onsite use, recording for later use or live streaming of your event.

Is your captioning automated?

Not at present due to automated solutions oftentimes failing to meet stringent FCC regulations. Especially with respect to complex content, such as religious programming, higher education subject matter and comprehensive government and corporate jargon and terminology. We still use humans!

Will someone be on-site for my event?

All our live captioning is performed offsite remotely through simple, straight forward workflows that due not draw attention to those in need of the service.

How do I add captioning to my live stream for the Web?

Captions are typically embedded into the video stream utilizing either a physical or Web-based encoder. Captions can also be displayed on a website as a “chat box” by embedding a URL below or beside the video player.

Can you caption events streamed on Facebook Live?

Yes. Adding captions to Facebook is most effectively implemented through use of a physical closed-caption encoder. A Web-based encoder may work also.

Do you provide live captioning for Zoom meetings?

Yes. We can write directly to the Zoom platform without the need for a physical caption encoder.

What other languages can you live caption in?

We can provide captions in English or Spanish and can even provide real-time translation from English into Spanish through our live interpretation service.


What is AberFast?

AberFast is the broadcast distribution arm of Aberdeen Broadcast Services. More specifically, it is our ground-breaking way to deliver programming content to networks and stations domestically and internationally without costly tape stock or shipping expenses traditionally associated with content distribution. We have taken file-based delivery to a place we all dreamed possible with our elegantly simple, file based, transcoding & digital file delivery platform. Learn all about it here.

For Program Producers

Are there a lot of stations set up with Aberdeen's digital file delivery service?

Yes, in fact, we partnered with well over 100 stations and networks in the first year of our ground-breaking file delivery service alone. We continue to add stations on a daily basis and currently have over 700!

What stations are already setup with AberFast delivery?

See a full list here. The list is updated everyday and even if you may not see your particular station on there yet, that's how the list grows! Contact us and we'll get them set up for you.

Does Aberdeen have penetration in smaller markets?

Yes, to our own surprise even, our file delivery system has overcome some of the hurdles FTP solutions pose, including file delivery to small and even rural markets where large bandwidth is oftentimes not readily available.

How do I get my files to Aberdeen?

Either via an Amazon S3 web uploader link we create specifically for your account or through our robust "Hotfolder" file transfer system, which is a simply yet key component of Aberdeen's digital file delivery service.

What is an Aberdeen "Hotfolder" and how does it work?

A "Hotfolder" is simply an automated watch folder, which functions similarly to a drop box.

How fast is Aberdeen's file delivery solution?

Our UDP based file transfers are significantly faster than that of traditional FTP and similar file transfers. We will help determine if your upload speed is adequate for this workflow. We typically look for our producers to have a minimum upload speed of 3-4mbps.

Is this file delivery system reliable?

Yes, in fact some major networks only accept Aberdeen file delivery because it is so reliable and the video quality looks pristine.

How do the files get to the stations?

Aberdeen will install a "Hotfolder" at each station if there is not already one in place.

Can I do the transcoding myself and upload directly to my stations?

Perhaps, but popular NLE (non-linear edit) systems are typically not capable of exporting the proper files as per the station preferred specification. Also, your local and station bandwidth constraints may be a limiting factor, as well.

Will one single file work for all my stations?

Not likely since each station typically has its own unique, preferred file specification. An MPEG file may be the closest format to a universal standard, but because of varying bit-rates, GOP structures, and other varying file essences, no two MPEGs are alike.

Will I have to coordinate with my stations to get set up?

Aberdeen will do virtually all of the coordinating and testing with each of your individual stations. We just ask that you set us up with the right contact at the station familiar with your airing contract.

What video format can you work with?

We will provide you with our preferred file spec sheet, which includes several common file format options for the most popular NLE systems. Files that we can work with include those from the Apple QuickTime ProRes family, various Avid formats, and high bit-rate MPEG files, among other formats.

My program is already captioned. Can you use my existing caption file?

Yes, we can work with various caption file formats but our preference is a .scc file.

How will I know if my file made it to you okay?

You will receive an automatically generated e-mail notification with a unique tracking number for your transfer once the upload has occurred

Can you up-convert my SD content to HD and vice versa?

Yes, for a low cost, Aberdeen can handle all your distribution, both for HD and SD, from one singular source file. And if your program originated in standard definition (SD), you especially have got to see how great our up-conversion to high definition (HD) can make your program look! 

Can you convert my files to PAL?

Yes, and at a fraction of the price of traditional standards conversion processes.

I shot my video in 24fps (23.98) but now it needs to be in 29.97fps. Can this be fixed?

It happens all the time! Broadcast television requires all programming to be at 29.97fps, so we flawlessly handle many frame rate conversions prior to station delivery.

How will my video look once it is transcoded?

Depending on the quality of video to start, it should remain looking excellent. This is because we start with the highest quality video possible and will run your file through our transcoding farm – in a workflow design specifically for your program – to create a file that matches exactly the spec of the station.

Can you handle sending my programs to multiple stations?

Yes, our service is fully scalable meaning we can deliver to as few or as many stations as is requested and can add stations at any time.

Does Aberdeen deliver to stations overseas?

Yes, we deliver programming all around the globe which provides significant savings over costly shipping rates and cuts down on the delivery time abroad.

Do you do any type of quality control check of my program?

Yes, Aberdeen will run your program through our video analysis programs to identify whether your program has the proper video (gamma, chromo, etc.) and audio (peaks, loudness, etc.) levels, along with ensuring that your program is broadcast safe overall. We even take the CALM act into consideration when evaluating your master files.

Will you let me know when my program makes it to the station?

Yes, we have a client portal that will track the progress of your program from upload to delivery.

Can you add closed captioning?

We thought you'd never ask! Please see our closed captioning options in the AberCap portion of our site.

For Network & Station Engineers

How fast is Aberdeen's file delivery solution?

Our UDP based file transfers using MD5 checksums are significantly faster than that of traditional FTP and similar file transfers, which are normally based on TCP/IP protocols.

What type of computer do I need for the "Hotfolder" to be set up properly?

Our "Hotfolder" system is platform agnostic and will work on any PC, Mac or Linux based machine or server.

Are the files transferred securely?

Yes, we use industry standard encryption using AES and SSL.

Can you use our FTP site instead when sending broadcast ready files?

Yes, but we recommend our "Hotfolder" solution as it is drastically faster and more dependable in our experience.

Is bandwidth an issue with your file transfers?

No, we transcode files to your play server's native spec giving us smaller files to transfer in the first place. Add to that the fact that our files are compressed on-the-fly with byte level incremental transfers to maximize throughput. Files can be delivered beyond actual line speed at times.

What do I need to do once the file hits the "Hotfolder" here at my facility?

The file can enter into your automation workflow or simply drag and drop the broadcast ready, closed captioned file directly to your on-air play sever, then go home.

Can you provide me a finished file even though we use a proprietary play server in our air chain?

Yes, our success rate is astounding in terms of being able to deliver files in a native file format, regardless of the preferred file codec or file wrapper, including, but not limited to, MXF, GXF, LXF, IMX, and many other exotic file flavors.

How is it possible to deliver a ready-for-air file that looks good and has captions without ingesting into our transcoder?

We will identify the file properties and very essence of the file in order to match the most exotic file codes and wrapper.

Other companies and vendors struggle to put captioning in the proper place within a digital file, so how will you get it right?

Through countless hours of testing and troubleshooting we have identified where caption information is to reside even within the METADATA of each respective file type.

Do the files contain the required EIA-708 (Line9 VANC) and EIA-608 (Line21) caption data required by law?


Can a "Hotfolder" be set up directly on my server or transcoder?

Yes, we can install what is simply a light weight JAVA based applet on any machine that is on your network.


What languages can you translate?

Our worldwide database of translators enable us to virtually offer any language you need.

Here are the languages we've successfully translated to:

Arabic, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, Flemish, French (Belgium), French (Canada), French (France), German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin Simplified, Mandarin Traditional, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (Iberian), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.

Don't see your target language? We also do the following languages:

Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Basque, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Gujarati, Hmong, Kurdish, Lingala, Macedonian, Malay, Maori, Mongolian, Punjabi, Somali, Tigrinya, Urdu, Welsh.

Still not sure if Aberdeen can do your desired language? Contact us.

Are your translators in country?

It is often beneficial to have one of them from the United States (if the source language is American English) so they can be sure that any American nuances are caught.

What qualifications do your translators hold?

All our translations are completed by a professional translator who holds a university-level degree with at least five years experience working as a full-time professional translator. Many hold master degrees and/or certificates of translation in their own countries. Each translator goes through our rigorous selection and testing process to ensure their quality and style is up to our standard.

What are your quality controls? Do you have a review process? What is it?

For our translation projects, after the initial translation is completed, the original translator does a complete proofreading of their own work to ensure no errors or typos are committed. Next, a proofreader will review the work to ensure that everything is translated appropriately and is free of errors and reads smoothly for the target audience.

For our subtitle projects, the same process occurs to review the translated subtitles, but there is an additional review of the subtitles to ensure that the reading speed is ideal, the words are broken properly for subtitles, and all is synchronized perfectly to the video following subtitle guidelines.

For our voice over work, our translations go through the same review process as above, but also go through an additional adaptation phase so that the words line up with the spoken words in the source video so they are able to be timed with the original audio. This requires specialized translators. The voice over recording sessions are always supervised and reviewed by a director in the target language.

Can I proof the translations when you're done?

Sure can. Just let us know if the beginning and we'll be sure to include a proof document for your review before we create the final export.

Can you do subtitling by working from my existing translation?

Yes, we can! Usually we like to edit it a bit for subtitle translation as our client translations tend to be too long for subtitles, but we can extend a discount to you by using your translation.

What's the difference between closed captioning and subtitles?

In broadcast television, captions are typically encoded into the baseband video by a closed caption encoder and then decoded by a set-top box or TV with a decoder. When captions are embedded into a video, they are optional to the viewer – turned on and off through a menu or button on the remote. Closed captioning is a crucial part of accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing communities – its primary audience – so in addition to the spoken word, captions communicate ALL essential audio information including music, sound effects, and background noise.

Subtitles are often referred to as the text that has been translated from one language to another, then “burned” into or displayed over the top of the video. Subtitles are intended for an audience that can hear the audio but cannot understand the language – think of a foreign film. However, subtitles may also be used for non-translation related viewer assistance for someone with a thick accent, poorly recorded audio, or videos that are displayed in public without sound (i.e. museums). Subtitles will not include on-screen effects or noises and usually do not contain speaker identification as obligatory in closed captioning.

Is it better to do captioning or subtitling?

Really one is not "better" than the other, but it really just depends on what the final destination is for your programming. If your video is for TV broadcast, you will most likely use captioning. If your video is for any other outlet, such as web, DVD, Blu-Ray, museum, etc…, you will most likely use subtitles. If you need other languages apart from English, subtitles are typically used.

Do you do SDH (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing)?

Yes, we do! Read more about them here.

Can I view captions and subtitles on my computer?

Yes, you can as long as they are incorporated in the online video you are watching and supported by the video player.

How do you determine if it is better to have captions, subtitles or a dubbed video?

Choose captions if…

Your video is for English speaking or Spanish speaking deaf and hard of hearing viewers watching broadcast television.

Choose subtitles if…

The destination of your video is DVD, Blu-ray, Web, Museum, Amusement Park, Dr. Office, etc..

Also, choose subtitles over VO if your budget is tight or your target audience prefers them, or your audience has a high education level and can read at a decent rate.

Choose VO if…

Your target audience prefers voice overs in their native language over reading subtitles (think Spain, Germany, and Italy), you have an ample budget, OR the education level of your audience is low and their potential reading speed is slow.

Do you offer dubbing (voice-over) services?

Yes, we do! Read about it here.

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