We have reached an inflection point in the world of Captions

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/10/02 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2013/10/02/10452874.aspx

And here I am once again, talking about .SRT files.

Could you really blame me?

So much of my passions around World-Readiness and Accessibility are tied up in them.

For myself, much of the work I have been doing outside of Microsoft with both specific television programs, TV networks, and at times even adult movie companies, to help hook up their captioning support and to improve substandard implementations of caption support.

At this point, the government mandated support for captions has largely been accomplished.

Every movie and show on TV has solid captioning support.

This work was hardly done by just me, but I am proud of the work I have been able to assist with.

Now, as the title indicates, there is an inflection point that has need reached.

There are three remaining bits of content that lack appropriate captioning, all in 1/3 to 1/2 of the commercials, depending on program and network:

  1. ads that contain *some* words that help mitigate the lack of full captioning;
  2. ads that do nothing to support captions at all;
  3. ads to television programs that fully support captions, even though the excerpts don't use those captions.

While all three are annoying, that last category is in my opinion the most troubling one, because it reveals a degree of laziness that should embarrass the people involved.

Since I always turn captions on, I know it happens across many networks and programs, but the ones that happen in shows I like are the ones I am most annoyed by.

I will not name them, but I will work in the days and weeks ahead to help fix the problem. 😏;-)

For now, you can turn on captions yourself if you're curious!

Random832 on 2 Oct 2013 11:31 AM:

Shouldn't there be a fourth category - ads that were put together by editing together clips without regard to the semantics of the inline captioning instructions in the original content? So you'd get skipped chunks of text, or no info on the first line of the clip and the last line would run into the next clip, etc. I always noticed this in the pre-digital-TV days.

John Cowan on 2 Oct 2013 1:20 PM:

Is it possible to do something about the insistence on making them white (this affects both captions and subtitles), even when the background is white?  There are far too many subtitles I can't read because they are white-on-white, a major accessibility concern.

Malcolm McCaffery on 2 Oct 2013 3:16 PM:

I always have captions on watching TV or movies...although mainly because if kids are noisy it allows you to follow dialogue, or allows for the occasional multi-tasking - talking about the topic while still watching the dialogue :)

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Oct 2013 10:31 AM:

Hey @Random832, I try not to think about those days, after fighting so hard to get past them!

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2013/10/15 When it's my own company, Category 2 can be worse than Category 3!

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