Closed captioning (CC) laws are changing! Will they affect you? Learn more here as we explore the new regulations on CC and how you can make sure your content is up to current standards. In the meantime, learn a bit about the history of CC from our friend Ryan Salazar from:
History of Closed Captioning
Closed Captioning (or “CC” as it’s widely known) is a useful idea that took a surprisingly long time to come about. The passage of two acts in the early 90’s marked the legal ‘birth’ of required CC: the first of the two acts was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, followed by The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 (TDCA) in 1991 (Ah, the speed of government). Technology that allowed CC to be possible had appeared well before the early 90’s but until then it was not ‘officially’ required.
CC provides a visual medium for audio signals allowing the deaf or hard of hearing full access to the audio content of combined audio & visual transitions. While some consider them subtitles, the US and Canada are the only advanced nations that have a standard distinction between subtitles and CC. Subtitles in North America are the visual translation (typically in English) of a foreign language, whereas CC is a visual translation of all sound (again with the language printed typically being in English) that also includes a basic description of non-verbal sounds (and language) amid the CC text.
This additional description includes things like a description of sound effects (like ‘loud whistle’ or ‘dog growls’), or music (like ‘dramatic theme song’ or ‘happy tune’), or sometimes the identity and/or tone of a speaker (like ‘menacing tone’ or ‘the lawyer says…’). Subtitles were always included (i.e., the captions were ‘open’) on film or a television show where translation would be needed (until much more recent technology allowed newer films and/or shows the option of turning the subtitles on or off or even changing the language of the subtitles). CC, however, has always been optional; the additional text could be activated as desired. Read the rest of this entry →