Video demonstration of captions, descriptions, and translations
21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
President Obama signed the Act into law on October 8, 2010, providing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with renewed authority to impose video description requirements on broadcast television stations and certain cable networks. It also requires the FCC to establish closed captioning obligations for some video programming provided over the Internet and to update its emergency information rules.
General Captioning Information
Closed captioning provides a critical link to news, entertainment and information for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. For individuals whose native language is not English, English language captions improve comprehension and fluency.
Audio descriptions provide access to multimedia for people who are blind or visually impaired by adding narration that describes the visuals, including action, scene changes, graphics and on-screen text. Captions added to multimedia presentations ensure that the audio components of the presentation are accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Both audio descriptions and captions are useful learning tools for a wide array of users in addition to their originally intended audiences. Captions can provide a powerful search capability, allowing users to search the caption text to locate a specific video, or an exact point in a video. They are also useful for people learning to read or learning English as a second language. Audio descriptions can assist students with learning disabilities by reinforcing through audio what the user is watching on the screen.
Captions and audio descriptions may be integrated into multimedia as a user-selectable option (closed) or permanently recorded along with the main audio or video (open). Closed captions and descriptions may be toggled on and off by the user via a preferences setting, a menu option or, in some cases, a button on the player interface. Open captions and descriptions may not be turned off-everyone sees or hears them, whether they want to or not (National Center for Accessible Media).