SyncWords Announces New Improvements In Captioning Technology, Leading the Way in Media Accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities

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SyncWords announces new technological updates to automate and improve the closed captioning process.

SyncWords, a new tool to help automate captioning and subtitling, is making video and audio content more accessible to underserved populations, such as deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and non-native English speakers. As educational and current event related materials are delivered increasingly in video format, particularly in the digital realm, it is crucial to ensure more widespread access.

Quality captioning is traditionally expensive and time-consuming. The pressure to save time and cut costs often leads to low-quality solutions. As an example, pre-recorded shows may be captioned in the same way as live programming, which involves a single pass with no editing. The result is transcription errors, poor synchronization with the audio, and difficult-to-read captions.

SyncWords’ unique technologies are making it significantly less expensive to get accurate, high-quality captions. Clients have reported up to a twofold decrease in costs. Captioning companies are now able to take on more projects with greater quality assurance.

SyncWords automates two of the three key steps in the captioning process: the synchronization of a transcript to the audio (called time-stamping), and the breaking up of the text into easy-to-read pieces (called chunking). This approach is in contrast to earlier efforts that used speech recognition to automate the transcription step as well. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) does not demonstrate satisfactory performance for the kind of audio commonly found in broadcast television, requiring more effort in editing than it saves. Repurposing many of the technologies used in ASR, as well as natural language processing (NLP), to solve specific sub-problems unique to captioning results in demonstrable efficiency gains.

Among its competitors, SyncWords is unique for its precision. Even with low-quality audio files featuring distortions, sound effects, and non-speech regions, SyncWords is able to accurately sync transcripts with media, resulting in well-timed captions. In a published study, when compared to YouTube (which also offers automatic time-stamping and chunking) SyncWords showed up to a 6-fold reduction in time-stamp errors, as well as chunking that better followed criteria that make captions easy to read at a glance.

With SyncWords’ Review Tool, users can also review the captions while listening along to the audio. Words on the transcript are highlighted in time with the audio, indicating where the captions have been synced. If the user wishes to edit the timing, user-friendly controls make adjustments simple yet precise. SyncWords then re-syncs the rest of the file on the fly, factoring in the new constraint for improving the results of the rest of the captions.

SyncWords’ accurate time-stamping in addition to the substantial time and cost saving it offers are leading the way toward higher quality media that is accessible to all populations. Interested parties can visit syncwords.com to learn more and start a free trial.

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Matthew Taylor
SyncWords
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