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Captioning Best Practices

High-quality readable, understandable, and timely captions are the desired end result of everyone involved in the world of broadcast captioning. TV networks, affiliates, and producers want the best quality captions for their programs; captioning companies and the people who actually write the captions want the best possible product for their viewers; and the people who enjoy using captions and especially those who depend on captions for access to TV programs expect the best.

As the nationally recognized certifying body for captioners, court reporters, and legal videographers, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) saw a need to define the roles of all the parties involved in the distribution of captioning: the individual in a studio or at home creating the captions, the producers, TV distributors, cable companies, and the people who watch captioned TV. In October, 2010, 70 percent of all complaints to the Federal Communications Commission regarding captioning involve transmission errors.


Captioning roles and responsibilities 

In order to help define the roles and responsibilities of everyone in this community, NCRA developed the following best practices to which captioners, captioning companies, content creators, video programming distributors, and consumers of captioning services need to  follow so the most accurate, understandable, and timely captions may be produced for the end user.

These best practices cover specifically live, realtime captions, not captions created in the post-production phase of video production. Post-production captions are expected to be 100% accurate with no exceptions.  For live realtime or near-realtime captions, 100% accuracy is not a reasonable expectation.


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