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Frequently Asked Questons

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What is the Global Alliance of Speech-To-Text Captioning?

The Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning, or the Global Alliance, is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to be the leading professional authority on speech-to-text captioning, representing all captioners, consumers, and industry.

It is a “captioning” organization - not only a “captioner” organization. The belief is that professionals and consumers and advocates together can bring about more change when coming together. We advocate for effective communication.

Our vision: Accessibility to the spoken word via all forms of captioning.

Why does the Global Alliance exist?

There is no other organization on the planet whose mission is to be the authority on every aspect of captioning. Technology is advancing. There are many methods to captioning - as well as types of captions. If you have questions, we have the answer!

Who should join us?

Because we represent all captioners, consumers, and the industry, anybody who is involved in any way with captioning should join us! Captioning consumers, captioning advocates, Deaf and hard-of-hearing advocates, agency owners, associations & organizations related to captioning or the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, and, of course, caption creators: steno writers, voice writers, Typewell and C-Print captionists, automated speech recognition/recognition engine developers and providers, postproduction captioners. Anybody who is interested in seeing the quality of captioning improve, and the availability of quality captioning services expand for all that need them, is encouraged to join.

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Why should I join?

Because we can’t do this without you! The Global Alliance recognizes the importance and value of all captioners, consumers, and industry. As a captioner, you want to ensure your professional interests are represented. Consumers are vital members as they provide direct feedback that helps the Global Alliance set and refine the standard. With technology changing and improving at a rapid pace, the Global Alliance realizes it is imperative to have industry involved as well. Together this community can effect change, but it is a collective effort!

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Is there a global standard for realtime captioning? Why is this important?

Yes! Generally, there is an accepted accuracy rate of 98% for realtime captioning. But what does that mean? How does one arrive at that percentage? This is all debatable. Each captioning company measures it differently. That does not create a standard for the industry at large. There needs to be one way for all methods – that is the NER-Certified Speech-to-Text Provider (NCSP).

The NER-Certified Speech-to-Text Provider certification sets the bar. Passing is 98% using the NER grading model. This method was created by Pablo Romero-Fresco, Founding Member and researcher. It is a proven model for grading accuracy of realtime captioning This certification can be administered to all methods of realtime captioning to allow for an apples-to-apples comparison of quality. The NER model is already in use in countries outside of the U.S. Read more about the NCSP here and register today to earn it if you are a captioner!

Why does the Global Alliance feel it is important to certify realtime captioning methods?

Without certification, there is no standard. Certification sets the bar of what is considered an acceptable accuracy rate. As well, it allows consumers and entities to make an informed decision when choosing a service provider. Consumers and entities hiring services are entitled to a captioner or a method of captioning that demonstrates the skills, knowledge, and ability to produce captions in a real-world setting while meeting the Global Alliance’s standards. Earning the NCSP designation demonstrates a commitment to maintaining high standards and providing complete accessibility via captioning.

Do we also welcome postproduction captioners as members?

The Global Alliance is committed to representing all speech-to-text captioners and all forms of captioning, including postproduction, and all those who produce captions, benefit from captions, or support the captioning profession. Together we can better support those who rely on captioning in their everyday lives.

Will the Global Alliance lobby for improved standards?

The Global Alliance Board of Directors will determine when it is necessary to lobby or advocate for the profession to meet consumer needs. As a small organization, we partner with other organizations and sign filings to the Federal Communications Commission in the United States.

To this end, as of June 2022, the Quality Captioning Task Force was created to gather data with regard to good, average, less than acceptable captions across the United States. The purpose is to develop statistics about the current state of quality captioning on broadcast networks in the United States.

What does the term "consumer" refer to?

A “consumer” refers to anyone who uses realtime captioning in any environment


What other benefits does captioning offer?

Captioning may be used in many settings, including:
  • When the caption content is other than your native language
  • Watching online with sound muted
  • Assisting anyone with auditory processing disorders
  • Assisting those who are visual learners
  • Aiding in understanding complex topics and accents
  • Listening to content with technical terminology
  • Watching television in a noisy environment
  • Accessing speech via text in courtrooms, healthcare facilities, and similar.

What are the different types of captioning?

Realtime captioning is the live, simultaneous display of text to match the spoken word and includes parenthetical information to alert the consumer to nonverbal sounds or actions.

Postproduction captioning is when captions are added to recorded material after the event has occurred. Parenthetical information is added to alert the consumer to nonverbal sounds or actions.

Open captions – always displayed without the ability to turn them off.

Closed captions – need to be turned on to be able to view.

What other organizations are partnering with the Global Alliance?

Check out our Alliances page

Does the Global Alliance offer webinars and educational opportunities?

Yes! We have an entire Webinar Series with different topics available for purchase to watch on-demand – all of which are open captioned. View them here.

Also check out our YouTube page for free educational webinars.

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Contact Us

455 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 123
Washington, DC, USA 20001
(604) 639-3924
info@speechtotextcaptioning.org

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