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  • Auston Stamm

Top YouTubers Should Provide Professional Captioning

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Captioning is like the curb cut. The curb cut was designed to help people

using wheelchairs access the sidewalk, but is also helpful for people on skateboards or mothers on strollers. In addition, captioning has been found to be beneficial for people on the autism spectrum, or people who have auditory processing disorder, or other learning disabilities. Because you're getting the information twice, you're getting to hear it and then also see it displayed on the screen. This can help people who are neurotypical as well. A 3Play Media study backs this claim up by showing that 98.6% of college students found some benefit to captioning.

The Communications Act requires TV Networks to provide professional captioning for all their English language broadcasts. The FCC ensures that all our televised programming has professional captioning, which is accessed by millions of Americans. However, on YouTube top creators that have millions of subscribers are not required to provide professional captioning. The algorithmic captioning YouTube provides is not a substitute for professional captioning. It is probably around 80% to 90% accurate depending on the content. However, a 3Play Media study shows that 85% accuracy means missing 1 of every 7 words and 90% means missing 1 of every 10 words. YouTube's autogenerated captioning does not include punctuation, sound effects and is horribly inaccurate with videos that include music.

Major networks (HBO, BBC News, Fox Sports) are rebroadcasting programming without the professional captioning track on YouTube and most content creators (Bright Side, MrBeast, Kids Dianna Show) do not provide professional captioning. In addition, famous musicians like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Eminem are not providing professional captioning for their music or even a transcript.

Please comment on your favorite YouTubers and let them know that they can expand their audience base by providing professional captioning. If enough people comment we can raise awareness and encourage top channels to provide professional captioning. YouTube is becoming the new medium that is rivaling television and needs to encourage creators to make accessible content.

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