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A simple 2-step guide to choose the right closed captioning service

Who is the right closed captioning vendor for you? The straight answer is someone who meets the demands of your business and the industry standards.

Yes, hiring the right online closed captioning partner will give your business a huge boost. But where do you even start?

We get it. So in this article, we’re going to share a simple process that will simplify your search and help you make the right hiring decision.

 First step: Ask yourself these 3 questions to understand your requirements

Why is this important? For a number of reasons actually:

  • it will make your search more streamlined
  • it will help you convey your expectations clearly
  • …which means the quality of deliverables will not only meet but exceed your expectations

So here are the 3 questions to ask yourself before you hire a closed captioning service:

  1. What problems are you trying to solve?

Whether you want to make your video more accessible, add more value to your video content, intend to boost your video SEO, or have all of these goals, understanding your requirement will give you extra clarity before you start searching for a vendor.

  1. Are your requirements short term or long term?

A long-term partnership with a closed captioning can be beneficial for your video production cycle and will help you negotiate costs according to volume. For short-term requirements (for example, closed captioning a full-length documentary), you need to understand your vendor’s turnaround time and whether they can work with your revision schedule.

  1. What should be the terms of your contract?

To filter your requirements further, you need to zero in on the following things:  Will your project need an NDA? How frequently are you willing to communicate during the project process? What should be the delivery schedule?

Having a contract in place before starting the project will make the entire process much smoother.

Second step: Ask your vendor these questions to ensure they’re a good fit

The vendor-client relationship can be extremely beneficial when both parties are a good fit for each other. This depends on a number of factors, most of which can be brought to the forefront by asking your potential closed captioning vendor the following questions (along with inquiring about the cost of services and turnaround time).

1. What is their captioning process?

Do they opt for high-end automatic speech recognition (ASR) to create closed captions for video files? Or do they have a more elaborate, two-step captioning process and a quality review protocol before delivery?

If they only rely on ASR, this puts the inaccuracy rate of the finished product at 5%-50%. ASR helps to make a good head start, but it isn’t a great standalone option.

A multi-step captioning process involves both ASR input and human intervention (typically crosschecking with the video and a round of editing), which produces high quality closed captions that are FCC compliant.

2. What is their accuracy rate?

Accuracy is the most important metric to judge your closed captions. Accuracy measures whether the captions are true to the source along with the quality of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

A high-quality vendor has a proven record (take a quick peek at their testimonials) of delivering captions with 99% accuracy to add real value to your video content. Here’s why accuracy should be your number one filter when choosing a captioning vendor.

  • Inaccurate closed captions affect the reading experience, which makes it an unsuitable (and unequal) alternative for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
  • Inaccurate captions reflect poorly on your brand.
  • When products, technical terms, places, or names of people are spelled incorrectly in your captions, it makes your video content hard to find, thus defeating the purpose of investing in improving your video SEO.

3. Do they operate in your niche?

This is another important parameter to consider before partnering up. When a vendor specializes in your niche (for example, captioning specifically for short films or explainer videos), the value you derive from them pays for the service many times over. This means they can not only handle the captioning process faster but are also able to fine tune the output to exceed your expectations.

4. Can they handle diverse and challenging content?

Each project comes with its own set of challenges – hire a vendor who’s ready to rise to the occasion and deliver 99% accuracy irrespective of how intricate and nuanced your project is (accuracy of closed captions is largely dependent on audio quality as well as other factors like accents and technical terms).

Ask them whether they hire specialists in your niche and whether they have the subject matter expertise as well as the technical skills to execute your project.

5. Is their workflow user-friendly?

User experience is a huge part of your relationship with a closed captioning vendor. A friendly workflow makes technical tasks like captioning much less cumbersome. A professional captioning service ensures the following so that project execution is streamlined.

  • They support multiple file formats
  • They make the upload process easy
  • You are proactively informed when your captions are ready
  • They ensure all communication and information you share with them are secure
  • They give you control over how long your files should stay in their system

Bottom line

How to hire the right closed captioning vendor? Simple, align your project requirements with what they can offer by asking these questions. Quiz yourself first and know your requirements in depth before you reach out to a vendor. Next, ensure they are a good fit for your business by asking the right questions.

Wondering how we handle closed captioning projects at iScribed? Reach out to us today – we’ll be happy to answer your questions with a no obligation to purchase!