Closed Captioning Quality

In 2004, the NAD and other deaf and hard of hearing organizations filed a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create quality standards for closed captioning. Our community has long been frustrated with poor quality captioning on television. In February 2014, much to our excitement, the FCC announced new rules to improve captioning quality.

These rules require:

  • Accuracy: To be accurate, captions must reflect the dialogue and other sounds and music in the audio track to the fullest extent possible based on the type of the programming, and must identify speakers.
  • Synchronicity: n order to be synchronous, captions must coincide with their corresponding dialogue and other sounds to the fullest extent possible based on the type of the programming, and must appear at a speed that can be read by viewers.
  • Program Completeness: For a program’s captions to be complete, they must run from the beginning to the end of the program, to the fullest extent possible, based on the type of the programming.
  • Placement: For proper placement, captions may not cover up other important on-screen information, such as character faces, featured text, graphics, or other information essential to the understanding or accessing of a program’s content.

Since the FCC’s IP Closed Captioning rules require the quality of captions shown online to be equal or better than what was shown on television – these rules not only raise the bar for captioning quality on television, but online programming too.

These rules went into effect on January 15, 2015.