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Re: CG 05-231 Delay Video to synchronize captions on Real-Time programs

Current proposed rulemaking to improve caption quality (Docket Number CG 05-231) does not appear to address the issue of time synchronization of the caption to the audio. For hard-of-hearing persons, captions that are late or early with respect to the audio are confusing and practically useless.

For pre-prepared programming, this issue could be addressed by specifying a tolerance, perhaps expressed in milliseconds, between the appearance of a caption and the beginning of the audio speaking that sound. It may take some research to determine appropriate tolerances (late and early).

For real-time programming, we rely on the speed of the typist or speech recognition system to minimize delay. A reasonable delay is hard to achieve, so that for news and sports programs, for examples, we typically turn off either the audio (for news) or the captions (for sports) to enable a less confusing viewing experience.

A possible solution the the real-time synchronization problem could be to delay both the audio and the video a few seconds to allow the caption generating system to catch up. This delay in the audio and video would be imperceptible to most viewers, but would be of great benefit to hard-of-hearing people who could then enjoy simultaneous audio and captioning cues for understanding real-time broadcasts.

This delay could be applied at the broadcaster's end of the transmission process, which would provide synchronized captions for all viewers of real-time programs. Alternatively, the delay could be applied in the receiving equipment, perhaps as an added feature, to provide this only to people who have this added feature in their viewing equipment.

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    Gil Dawson shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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      • Gil Dawson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I wish to edit the above comment to read as follows:

        Current proposed rulemaking to improve caption quality (Docket Number CG 05-231) does not appear to address the issue of time synchronization of Real-Time captioning to the audio.

        Captions that are late or early with respect to the audio are confusing and often useless to hard-of-hearing persons, who often use both cues simultaneously for better understanding.

        For pre-prepared programming, synchronization is nominally addressed in at least one of the Filings. Perhaps some standards will emerge from the process. However, I found no Filings in a cursory search that addressed synchronization for captions generated "on the fly".

        For Real-Time programming captions, we rely on the speed of the typist or speech recognition system to minimize delay. A reasonable delay is hard to achieve, so that for news and sports programs, for examples, we typically turn off either the audio (for news) or the captions (for sports) to enable a less confusing viewing experience.

        A possible solution to the the real-time synchronization problem could be to delay both the audio and the video a few seconds to allow the caption generating system to catch up. This delay would be imperceptible to most viewers, but would be of great benefit to hard-of-hearing people who could then enjoy simultaneous audio and captioning cues for understanding Real-Time broadcasts.

        This delay could be applied at the broadcaster's end of the transmission process, which would provide synchronized captions for all viewers of real-time programs. Alternatively, the delay could be applied in the receiving equipment, to provide this synchronization only to viewers who have this feature in their equipment.

        --Gil

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