What are Access Services?
As of 2018, the World Health Organization estimates that there are 466 million people with disabling hearing loss worldwide and 253 million that are visually impaired. Assistive Technologies are now considered basic human rights by media regulators worldwide and regulations across all the major networks and broadcaster are being imposed. Current mandates require virtually all broadcast programming to be captioned and/or include audio descriptions, and new mandates are continually increasing the amount of content that needs to be adapted.
What Access Services does SDI Media Provide?
Live and Offline Closed Captioning (CC)
Subtitles or closed captioning are textual versions of the dialogue, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen with added information, such as speaker IDs and sound effect descriptors, to aid the deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers in following the dialogue. Users of closed captioning and subtitles include people who have experienced hearing loss later in life and those who have been deaf since birth. In addition, some people use these captioning services for other reasons, such as to watch television with the sound muted or to learn English.
Audio Description (AD)
For the visually impaired, it is difficult to follow the action on the screen when there is little dialogue. Audio description provides narration describing the action taking place on-screen to help viewers with visual impairments to follow the plot. This audio description is recorded and made available as a separate audio track that can be selected by the viewer.
Sign language employs manual gestures, facial expression and body language to convey meaning. Sign language is a language in its own right and is typically learned as a first language. For this audience, closed captioning or subtitles do not adequately convey the same depth of information. Signing is used throughout the world for accessibility to media content, primarily because the viewer may lack understanding of the written language used in closed captioning; hence signing, as an access service, fills an important need.
SDI has a dedicated team to manage both offline and live closed caption projects, ensuring all local regulatory requirements are met and providing hearing impaired viewers with access to media. SDI Media employs speech to text technology with dedicated re-speaking specialists to create live closed captioning for broadcasts and live streaming as well as offline closed captioning for all venues.