Rob Harvie is a captioning specialist. I have talked to him about the best captioning software that can be used by small companies or podcasters that want to make their content accessible.
The script of my conversation with Rob follows:
[Reporter] What is the best software for in-house captioning?
[Rob] There’s a variety of them, and they range in cost from $10,000 through to about a hundred dollars. The larger your organization, the better it can warrant the more expensive or multi-feature captioning tool. And you can find them by doing searches.
I can name names, but I’m not going to, because I’m also going to recommend that you consider outsourcing your captioning. I’m all for internal proficiency, but captioning and capturing accurately can take a lot of time, plus, you want multiple proofing stages beyond that, and it may not be quite within your capacity to allocate the human resources and the training time and up-skilling time for them in order to caption, so an alternative to it is to look at some of the captioning services that exist.
Some of them are South of the border, they may not get your regional spellings correctly or Canadian spellings… but it might be more affordable in the long run, and accurate.
[Reporter] Most people would be tempted to turn to YouTube captioning.
Why would say that’s not the best bet?
[Rob] I’m sorry, can you repeat that? Good case in point.
YouTube is actually a pretty good bet for captioning, if you’re going to be involved in the captioning. But to rely upon YouTube’s automated captioning is asking for trouble, because YouTube’s leveraging AI or algorithms to process the speech, but the recognition of it can’t contextualize very well. So if you’re okay with having a robot as it were, putting words into your mouth, that you didn’t actually say… or that of your boss’ or that of your CEOs… Umm…Be prepared for the repercussions.
[Reporter] How expensive is to outsource your captioning?
[Rob] It can range, it depends on whether it’s done at a broadcast basis as an accommodation or for your clients and… different services have different sorts of levels of accuracy, of what you want to be worried of. But if it is sensitive information, you can’t afford to have wrong, it might run upwards of $500 an hour, or, roughly, somewhere between the eight to ten dollars a minute range.
[Reporter] Ok and if you cannot afford to outsource captioning, and you want to buy something that you have in-house because you’re going to do it very often…
[Reporter] Which would be the best solution for a small company, what software would you recommend?
[Rob] Right off the bat you can use YouTube for free. You don’t have to rely upon the automated captioning, but you can use it itself and something called the caption editor.
[laughs] Now, I may have the name of that wrong. But it’s built right into YouTube
and if you have an account, you can go in and build captions yourself.
On through the about a hundred dollar range tools, like we used in this program in class,
is something called Movie Captioner and Inqscribe. (INQ Scribe), were two affordable solutions which have a reasonably good workflow. Keep in mind that it takes about roughly often eight to ten times the amount of time to caption something than the length of the original content. So one minute of spoken content can take you eight or ten minutes to do that… that small portion.
On up through, again, $10,000 solutions that are more suitable for broadcast type situations or context.
[Reporter] What would be the most useful argument that you can make for a CEO
to convince him that he has to do the captioning of all the videos that they put on line?
[Rob] Well I’m not necessarily behind that you need to caption everything that you ever did, into perpetuity, because you might have hundreds of thousands of hours of video,
and while it’s a great idea to crack that open, to make it accessible to everyone,
it might be considered undue hardship, or not practicable to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to do this. But you might want to have everything that you’re… as of a certain date, more accessible posted to the web. So you might say, well going back a year or going back two years, or as of February 31st… Well, February doesn’t have that many days, but, let’s say… March 1st, everything that goes up from now on, we’re planning to build into our infrastructure a workflow, and people in order to do this, and it’s possible to do…. Public perception, meeting your stakeholders needs,
being able to communicate more effectively….
[Reporter] What about the Return of the Investment?
[Rob] well that’s… that’s a good question. I don’t have any stats to claim that you’re going to necessarily get this sort of percentage, but I think, pretty sure, you’re going to reclaim any of those expenses put in, in other ways. You’re going to be more appealing to those who want your products and services, again, your stakeholders are going to feel included
not being extremely frustrated that they’re not, and you’re avoiding a potential penalty
dished out by the province, who could, in effect, hit you with a fine. Unlikely to happen,
but if it hit the press that’s just as bad to you. You might be earmarked by a lobby group,
or advocate who’s fighting for the rights of those with disabilities and you don’t want to be in the papers.
[Reporter] Thank you so much.