Most event organizers and marketing leads think of live event captioning as a “nice-to-have” feature. But it’s a must-have tool for every event. No matter the size or number of attendees.
Live-streamed events are becoming more and more popular. As a result, the need for closed captioning for live events is growing. After all, it’s an affordable way to make any event as inclusive and accessible as possible on a global scale. And there are many other benefits.
Recent advances in AI (artificial intelligence) have transformed closed captioning software for live events. It’s more accurate than ever and it’s often paired with powerful translation software that converts closed captions into multiple languages.
But, why should you use closed captioning for your live events? And what should you look for when choosing the right software?
First, we’ll explain what live event captioning is. Then, we’ll dive into its 7 powerful benefits. Finally, we’ll list 4 questions to ask yourself when choosing closed captioning software for live events.
What is live event captioning?
It’s the craft of transforming speech into text in real time.
Closed captions were developed to ensure the hearing impaired could understand TV shows and movies. Now we often use them at live-streamed events, meetings, and training courses. They help create a more inclusive experience for everyone.
Event managers and marketing leads use live event captioning to ensure participants understand everything and stay engaged. Participants may have hearing difficulties. They may not be able to have the sound on. Or, they might absorb written information more quickly.
With closed captions, everyone can participate in events without issue. Plus, attendees have the freedom to switch closed captioning on and off as they please.
The text in closed captioning for live events can also be translated. Some closed captioning software for live events has an in-built translation system.
That means participants don’t have to read captions in the original language. They can read them in their preferred language. This is a great way to reach a multilingual audience.
Let’s take a look at how closed captions can benefit your event!
7 benefits of live event captioning
#1) Make events accessible to everyone
Did you know:
- About 15% of American adults report some trouble hearing. That’s almost 38 million people.
- Over 5% of the world’s population has hearing loss. That’s about 360 million people.
These are huge numbers.
Much too often, deaf people and people with hearing impairments and other disabilities get excluded. They can’t attend virtual or hybrid events. This may be because closed captioning software for live events is inaccurate. Or it may be missing.
When planning events, your audience’s needs should be at the forefront of your mind. Every participant should be able to experience your event in the same way. Especially given that access to information is a human right.
Closed captioning for live events ensures you don’t leave anybody out. And it’s an easy, inexpensive step companies can take to be more inclusive.
#2) Reach a wider audience (inc. non-English speakers)
English is the most spoken language in the world.
But, only 17% of the global population speaks English. And according to the EF English Proficiency Index, 70% of the 112 countries studied have an English proficiency that is moderate or below.
How can you reach this huge number of people that struggle with or don’t understand English?
By using live event closed captions, of course!
Again, it’s all about putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Would you feel comfortable attending an event in German if you had a low proficiency? And what if you had a pretty good level but the speaker had a strong accent?
The best closed captioning software for live events allows you to provide captions translated into different languages. This way, attendees can understand all your event’s messages. No matter the original language.
They can keep up with everything by following the written text on the screen in their own language. It’s a great way to reach audiences from all over the world.
You’ll also help non-English speakers to enhance their English. They can follow closed captioning during live events while listening to the audio. It’s an effective way to help learners improve their linguistic skills. A win-win!
#3) Enhance user experience and educate effectively
During events, participants get fed a lot of information in a short time. It’s tricky to consume everything at once. Especially if attendees need to learn something new.
Take the life science industry, for example. Medical training is key for society. There are numerous specialists and healthcare professionals worldwide. Therefore, training content needs to be globally accessible.
Closed captioning for live events means that attendees can learn even the most technical terms with ease. Because they see them written down.
We all absorb information in different ways:
But, one thing’s for sure. If you reinforce content with both audio and text, participants will remember it more easily.
That’s where closed captioning for live events comes into play. You can deliver all your content in a simplified format that all participants can understand. As a result, people remember information with more ease. And they have a more enjoyable experience.
Closed captioning software for live events also keeps audiences engaged and improves average watch time. Studies show that people are much more likely to watch videos until the end if closed captioning is on.
So, why not give your audience closed captioning for live events and boost their event experience?
Looking for other tools to take audience engagement to the next level? Read about how SpotMe can help you with interactive Q&As and polls.
#4) Increase audience size
To get bigger audiences, you need to reduce any barriers that prevent people from attending. Especially virtual events. Most event planners and marketers forget this.
Lower the friction and more people will attend.
Closed captioning for live events is a quick and easy way to ask for lower commitment. That’s because you’re not asking your audience for their full auditory attention.
They can participate from anywhere using their mobile device. And they can even multitask while participating.
They may be at the gym, in the office, or on a noisy train. They may even have gone on a business trip and misplaced their headphones. These scenarios all have one thing in common: listening is a no-go.
The use cases are countless! And the statistics prove it. 80% of those who use captions don’t have a hearing impediment (Verizon Media). Many people simply want closed captions so they can attend events without needing sound.
Add closed captioning software for live events to your next virtual event. You’ll be sure to see participant numbers soar.
Google and Microsoft already use live captioning in their products. Even Apple is introducing live captions too. So, don’t get left behind!
To see more benefits of virtual events for both hosts and attendees, check out Virtual Events: Introductory Guide to the Future of Conferencing.
#5) No need to spend a lot of money
In-person interpreters can be rather pricey. And with so many virtual and hybrid events, this type of service is not always feasible.
AI-powered closed captioning software for live events is much more reasonable. Average prices range between $110 and $300 per hour. Some closed captioning software for live events costs as little as $75 per hour. Often, you can add translations too. Even though it comes at an additional price, it’s still affordable.
This makes live event captioning a way cheaper option for enterprise events. A small price to pay to reach and engage a much wider audience on a global scale.
#6) Improve SEO ranking
A big plus of holding virtual events is that you can record everything and upload it online after. That way, people who couldn’t attend your event live can access all its content on demand.
Some closed captioning software for live events saves the captions that are generated during a live stream. That means closed captions are available after the video has been published.
This is a great way to help your event content get a higher SEO ranking. You provide search engines with your entire event content in written form. Google reads your closed captions and indexes your videos. Your event material becomes searchable and helps you outrank your competition.
#7) Ensure you comply with regulations
Closed captioning for live events is becoming mandatory. Especially for large corporate gatherings, public summits, and events. In the future, it will no longer be a choice, but a legal requirement (depending on the country you live in).
The US has passed several laws about accessibility to prevent disability discrimination. The ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act) requires private and public companies to provide auxiliary aids for people with disabilities in order to not exclude them. So, since the act was passed in 1990, the use of closed captions has risen rapidly.
Other related US laws are:
- The Rehabilitation Act: Sections 504 and 508
- The FCC’s rule 79.1 for offline captioning
- The WCAG 2 (The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)
Similar laws exist in the EU:
It’s undoubtedly the right time to start using live event captioning. Other governments worldwide will most likely implement the same regulations in the future. It’ll be a positive move forward for everyone.
What to look for in closed captioning software for live events
Now you know the 7 main benefits of live event closed captions. You might be wondering how to choose the closed captioning software for live events that’s right for you.
There are different kinds of technologies available. But, you should choose one that’s affordable, effective, and user-friendly.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when choosing the right software.
1. How accurate are the live event captions?
AI-powered closed captioning software for live events is very advanced. Machine-learning models that transcribe the captions are trained to recognize a wide set of voices and accents. But, it’s impossible to guarantee that live event captioning will work in the same way for everyone.
One example of effective live captioning technology is AI-Media. It provides up to 96% accuracy for generated captions. It’s a global leader in technology-driven live captioning, transcription, and translation services. Microsoft and Discovery Channel use its services for their live event closed captions.
Opt for closed captioning software for live events that has a proven track record with large businesses. And that has noteworthy reviews. That way, you’ll ensure the highest level of accuracy for your attendees.
2. What’s the user experience like?
Most people have had at least one experience with closed captions or subtitles. They know what to expect. When someone’s speaking, text will appear at the bottom of the screen.
You want to meet your audience’s expectations. It’ll help you make their experience as seamless as possible. That way, they will enjoy and engage with your virtual event. And they’ll remember it.
We recommend closed captioning software for live events that creates movie-style closed captioning. This software perfectly embeds live event captions into the user interface. And your audience won’t have to make any effort to adjust to a new captioning style. They’ll feel like they are watching a movie.
3. Are captions available for on-demand videos?
Creating on-demand videos after your virtual event ensures that those who couldn’t make it don’t miss out. And having closed captions available not only makes it more accessible to them. It may even boost your SEO ranking.
Certain closed captioning software for live events ensures that live-streamed captions also appear in on-demand content. This is an automatic process that requires no extra effort on anyone’s part. It’s all done for you. Plus, there is no additional cost.
Turn live event captions into evergreen content that you can repurpose in various ways.
4. How can I manage industry-specific lingo (e.g. medical terms)?
Many fields use technical language during their events. For example, the life science industry.
This creates a challenge for closed captioning software for live events. It’s not easy to produce captions that accurately reflect technical terms. And it’s tricky to translate them into other languages.
That’s why some software gives you the chance to provide your own phrases and translations before an event. You can feed the industry-specific terms you need for your virtual event into the system. Then, the live event captioning will work its magic.
Of course, it depends on the field and the implications of what you’re captioning. You may not want to risk the 4% margin of error that can occur with AI-powered closed captioning when stakes are high.
If there is too much of a risk, you can use human-generated captions. But, for the vast majority of events and industries, closed captions work with success.
Start using live event captioning today with a reliable virtual event platform
Looking for closed captioning software for live events that you can trust?
SpotMe is a virtual and hybrid event platform with powerful closed captioning software for live events.
We work with AI-Media to give you closed captions and translations that are 96% accurate. The tool is affordable, powerful, and easy to use. Plus, it provides an engaging user experience with movie-style captions.
You can display captions in their original language and translations in up to 3 other languages. As a result, you can reach a huge, multilingual audience worldwide. There’s even the option to add your own industry-specific translations to increase accuracy.
You can even publish your post-event on-demand videos on SpotMe. And the live captions generated during the live stream will appear automatically. So, you can keep delivering your amazing content, even after your live event.
Make your events more inclusive, enhance your user experience, and grow your audiences with live event captioning. Book a free demo today to see how it all works.