Does Inclusion Cost Too Much? Does Quality Captioning?

September 14, 2014 § 7 Comments


We saw again the other day that someone says,  “Quality captioning costs too much.”

Who says?

pulling hair out in frustration image

Well, not only “some of our best friends” – smile please – but also some captioning advocates themselves.  We all know it costs, yet we implore advocates not to say that “it costs too much.”

Consider the following – what do you all think?

A. Of course it’s both for-profit companies, no matter their size nor large incomes, and also non-profits (some have very small budgets, some have huge budgets) that are loud and vocal saying that captioning costs too much.

B. Take the case of a news broadcasting company. They either assume it’s going to cost too much, or they have neglected to ask for competitive bids, or they choose to ignore it as much as possible and as long as possible, and they don’t build quality captioning into a budget line from day one. It’s past-time for all media to do this. Budget lines? You can be sure there are many (executive salaries, creative writers, advertising, and much more all costing more than captioning).

C. Do they think people with “disabilities” don’t count – enough?  Perhaps they think we’re not educated enough? Don’t earn enough? Don’t contribute to society enough? Will not want to watch their products online?

What is taking them too long to know that captioning IS GOOD BUSINESS SENSE? Increase your audience, translate your message easily, help search engines find you, and do the right thing – include quality cc.

D. For our focus, quality captioning – of course it’s not only for people with hearing loss or deafness or other conditions that require captioning. Quality captioning has so many other uses (see other blog posts please, e.g. for literacy and learning for hearing people, to communicate in a way that people with different first languages can follow and learn from too, etc.).

Our reply:

A. What does it cost to exclude us? A whole lot more than many realize.

costs and benefits sign

B. The hidden costs of losing us as part of the audience, and the huge costs of ignoring our many skills and capabilities for our larger societies (dimmed without full equal access) are large. They are not easy to quantify, yet you can be sure they are huge. As the world population looks for more and more ways to sustain healthy living, to boost employment and education, and to hopefully find new ideas to keep humanity thriving, it pays to be inclusive. It enriches the company that finds ways to pay whatever it cost.

C. At the same time, there are new systems developed to make it easier and less costly for all, including for large media companies that want to offer us (and sell to us) more and more things online. The quality of new systems is sometimes good-enough for access in some situations, and yet none yet reaches the quality and flexibility offered by professionals with training, experience, and excellent human skills.

Like all important things in life – time will teach us all more. Meanwhile, it’s choices, always choices!

choices - one road diverges into three


We hope more companies make the right choices for inclusion. If they do not, they will learn eventually, over time, that everyone ages (if they are lucky) and that our needs are not so special after all  – it will happen to them and their families – and then they will understand and find ways to fund equal access.

Join us in our CCAC discussions – join the CCAC from

Keep in mind that YouTube and other online media also offer free tutorials online to add free quality captioning to your own media online. Check that out too.



Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

§ 7 Responses to Does Inclusion Cost Too Much? Does Quality Captioning?

  • psnzblog says:

    We notice with envy that you use quality captioning, while we here in NZ are just after captioning at this stage. Quality control I think will happen once we actually get captioning made mandatory.

    Can we reblog this on our blog please? Can you let me know who wrote it so i can add the author? i don’t whether I will be able to get the same images 🙂


    • ls says:

      Hi Robyn – yes – re-blog away! And totally agree – step by step – we need to get it there, and then quality will improve over time if we keep asking for it. Getting it there at all – in the first place – is so important.

      (Just said the same to someone else the other day – dang – wish I could find it – someone who did not see the point in getting it there in some form to begin with. Probably on FB).

  • My wife and I have perfectly normal hearing, but we constantly use it. Why? Because, more and more, actors lack the enunciation skills that older and more professional actors used to have. It’s so bad sometimes, we say “Wow, we really need to activate the de-mumble-ator. And then, at a crucial moment the close captioning strerrrrrrssss to slffeewk and, BXLAKEALS wrrrpt! (Don’t you hate it when that happens?)

    • ls says:

      Thanks for your comment Frank. Yes! we know that if more people with “normal hearing” tried the captioning, many would find it very helpful This is true not only for media (TV, Online Videos, Movies) but also for many other “normal” life situations such as theaters, sports, cultural and community events, and more.

      If the captioning goes “off” sometimes (yes, it happens sometimes…it depends on the systems being used) the best thing to do is to take time to contact and explain that to the station, broadcaster, cable company, cinema manager…who hopefully replies to you. If not, we encourage all to contact the FCC with the complaint (there is a fairly easy form to use online for this). They do need to hear about problems in order to decide what actions to take to reduce those glitches and errors to a minimum.

      By the way, we welcome hearing people into CCAC membership too :-).

  • ls says:

    More food for thought from the CCAC: $4/video minute to get quality captions – is that a lot? If a five minute “clip” or ad or short feature it’s only $20 dollars. (We’re told some quality cc costs $3/minute. Below that, we’re told buyer beware.)

    We are taking this information off an established for-profit captioning and translation company online. We are not advertising the company here – we’re thinking about this important discussion. For one hour, yes, that’s $240 dollars. Who watches one hour online? Some do! Okay, then the producer needs to budget $240 dollars for quality cc. Find some sponsors to add $240 to his or her budget line. To create a good one hour video, there is surely a much larger total that needs to be raised. Access is as important as other items. It

  • When you take into account the total cost of producing a one-hour video, $240 seems like a drop in the bucket. Why the realtime broadcast captioning industry does not feel, for the most part, that quality captioning is worth more per hour is still a mystery that will haunt me to my end.

What’s this?

You are currently reading Does Inclusion Cost Too Much? Does Quality Captioning? at CCAC Blog.


%d bloggers like this: