Adding closed captioning for live events (and promoting it in your communications) isn’t just one of the best ways to attract a wider global audience by making your events more accessible and inclusive. It’s also a great way to improve the participant experience.
With over 20 years’ experience in the event tech industry, we’ve tried and tested many different AI-powered closed captioning software for live events to help our 12,000+ enterprise customers in high-touch industries, such as life sciences, to educate their audiences in a compliant way.
For a list of questions to ask yourself when choosing the best closed captioning software for events and to find out how live event captioning can help you boost attendance and engagement at your hybrid and virtual events, read on.
SpotMe recently partnered with Wordly, a leading AI-powered live translation and captioning tool for any event format. Find out more in this post about the Wordly AI and SpotMe partnership.
What is live captioning for events?
Live event captioning is the craft of transforming speech into text in real time.
Closed captions were originally 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 to help create a more inclusive and accessible experience for everyone.
Event technology specialists, event organizers, and marketing leads, especially in high-touch industries, look for event platforms that have integrations with closed captioning software for live events 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 captioning for live events, everyone can participate 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, like Wordly, 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.
How does closed captioning work for live events?
Closed captioning for live events works by converting the audio content of an event into text in real time, which is then displayed on a screen for attendees to read. There are two primary methods for providing closed captioning at live events:
#1 Professional captioners (CART providers)
Human captioners, also known as Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) providers, listen to the event’s audio feed and create closed captioning for live events using stenography machines or specialized software. They are trained to transcribe spoken words quickly and accurately, ensuring that captions closely follow the event’s proceedings. The captions are then sent to a designated display system or device for attendees to read.
But there are a few problems with human captioners when you work for a large organization in a high-touch industry that runs multiple events that last a few days each throughout the year. They vary in quality and reliability. If you ask someone to do closed captions for live events over a few hours, their accuracy may start to reduce towards the end. Or if you have different human captioners for different events, you may get different levels of quality. Plus, not all human captioners have access to the right equipment for effective live event captioning. So, you may have to find a way to provide this for them.
#2 AI-powered closed captioning software for live events
AI-powered closed captioning software for live events uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to convert speech into text automatically. This technology has advanced significantly in recent years, making it extremely reliable, accurate, and fast.
And some closed captioning software for live events like Wordly even translates closed captions for live events in real-time in over 30 languages. So, for large life science companies that run multiple global events every year that contain highly technical content and have to follow strict pharma compliance standards, AI-powered closed captioning software is the best option.
Regardless of the method used, closed captioning for live events requires a reliable audio feed, a captioning solution (human or AI), and a display system or device to present the live event captioning to the audience.
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 captioning, 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 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 ways to take audience engagement to the next level? Get 29 ideas from our blog post about event engagement.
#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.
Live event captioning 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 live event captioning so they can attend events without needing sound.
Add closed captioning software for live events to your next virtual or hybrid 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!
Find the right hybrid event platform or the best virtual event platform for you by checking out our guides. And send our event RFP template to find out which ones have integrations with closed captioning software for live events.
#5 No need to spend a lot of money
In-person human captioners 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 watch it back on a gated on-demand content hub.
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 live event captioning 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. And particularly in high-touch industries like life sciences. 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.
5 things to look for in closed captioning software for live events
Now you know the 7 main benefits of live event captioning, 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 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing the right software.
1. How accurate is the live event captioning?
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 their 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 when they run medical education events, congresses, and satellite symposia, among others.
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.
5. Does the closed captioning software for live events translate captions into different languages?
If you are a global organization that wants to reach audiences all over the world with your virtual and hybrid events, it is crucial that your closed captioning software for live events translates captions for you automatically.
Wordly is an example of AI-powered captioning and translation software that makes this easy for participants at any event format. When the live stream begins, participants see a ‘Translations’ button’ in the side panel in the live session on the event platform. They can simply select the language, and the translations will instantly start to appear. The text appears in real time as the speakers are talking on stage, and users can at any time change the language output using the dropdown.
The best closed captioning software for live events
As an enterprise event platform that works with thousands of global customers in high-touch industries, we understand the importance of having accurate and reliable closed captioning software for live events.
That’s why we’ve partnered with two of the best out there. Wordly and AI-Media integrate seamlessly with SpotMe to provide an exceptional experience that audiences love.
Wordly makes meetings and events more engaging and inclusive by enabling presenters and attendees to speak, listen, and read captions in their preferred language. The Wordly AI-powered platform offers over 30 languages, is available on-demand 24/7, and does not require human interpreters or special equipment.
Find out more about the SpotMe + Wordly partnership.
Founded in Australia in 2003, technology company Ai-Media has become a global leader in the provision of high-quality live and recorded captioning, transcription, and translation services. Its technology platform combines artificial intelligence and human expertise to deliver speech-to-text accuracy. The company is the biggest captioning provider in the Australian market, with clients including major free-to-air and pay television networks, and has a growing international footprint, with offices in Australia, the US, the UK, and Canada. Globally, Ai-Media technology delivers 7 million minutes of live and recorded media content, online events, and web streams every month.
Find out more about the SpotMe + AI-Media partnership.
Start using live event captioning today with a reliable event platform
Looking for closed captioning software for live events that you can trust and that follows compliance standards?
SpotMe is the enterprise event platform to create engaging, personalized, and compliant event experiences that help companies build better customer relationships. And it integrates with powerful closed captioning software for live events to provide global audiences in high-touch industries with the best experience.
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.
How does closed captioning work for live events?
Closed captioning for live events works by converting the audio content of an event into text in real time, which is then displayed on a screen for attendees to read. There are two primary methods for providing closed captioning at live events: professional human captioners (CART providers) or AI-powered software. Regardless of the method used, closed captioning for live events requires a reliable audio feed, a captioning solution (human or AI), and a display system or device to present the live event captioning to the audience.
How are live events captioned?
Live events are either captioned by AI-powered software or professional human captioners (CART providers). AI-powered closed captioning software for live events uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to convert speech into text automatically. This technology has advanced significantly in recent years, making it highly reliable, accurate, and fast. Human captioners, or Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) providers, listen to the event’s audio feed and create closed captioning for live events using stenography machines or specialized software. They are trained to transcribe spoken words quickly and accurately, ensuring that captions closely follow the event’s proceedings. The captions are then sent to a designated display system or device for attendees to read.