Writing and Language Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

Football for all: the quality of the live closed captioning in the Super Bowl LII

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In the U.S., new programming broadcast on television needs to be accessible to the hearing-impaired, and closed captioning is the tool most frequently used to provide such access. From all the audiovisual content available to viewers, live programs pose the greatest challenge to captioners, who, in this scenario, are required to provide accurate subtitles that reach the viewers with as limited delay as possible. Due to the difficulties involved in the production of real-time subtitles, research exploring the quality of live captioning is not yet abundant. However, having precise insights on this matter could help improve current practices and better accommodate the users’ needs. Drawing on existing literature from the field of Media Accessibility, this article presents the main findings of a study exploring the quality of the live closed captioning delivered during one of the most widely followed televised events of 2018 in the U.S.: the Super Bowl LII. The parameters that the Federal Communications Commission identifies with quality (completeness, placement, synchronicity and accuracy) were analyzed. The results point at completeness as the trait with more room for improvement and show that captions achieved impeccable placement, a commendable average latency and very high accuracy rates.


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Univ Access Inf Soc