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Re: Transcript vs. Caption


From: John Foliot
Date: Dec 18, 2014 7:26PM

Jonathan Avila wrote:
> John, I'm trying to figure out what success criteria you are saying
> would require transcripts for WCAG Level AA multimedia conformance if
> audio description was available. My read is that SC 1.2.3 and SC
> 1.2.5 can both be met via audio description. SC 1.2.2 and 1.2.4 can be
> met through captions. The requirement for transcripts when audio
> description and captions is present is something that doesn't appear to
> be clear.

Hi Jonathan,

So... technically yes, I suppose you could get by ('legally speaking') with
audio description and captions only; however from the Intent of 1.2.3 comes
the following:

"The alternative for time-based media reads something like a
screenplay or book. Unlike audio description, the description of the video
portion is not constrained to just the pauses in the existing dialogue. Full
descriptions are provided of all visual information, including visual
context, actions and expressions of actors, and any other visual material.
In addition, non-speech sounds (laughter, off-screen voices, etc.) are
described, and transcripts of all dialogue are included. The sequence of
description and dialogue transcripts are the same as the sequence in the
synchronized media itself. As a result, the alternative for time-based media
can provide a much more complete representation of the synchronized media
content than audio description alone."

I'll suggest here, although concur that it is NOT a formal AA requirement,
that providing a Transcript also benefits the deaf/blind user, as well as
users with cognition issues.

Old dogs like me will remember there was a lot of concern about releasing
WCAG 2.0 because there was very little there for that particular user-group
- thankfully there is some work afoot now (the COGA Task Force at W3C being
a major example) to shore up those holes. I've been very close to media
accessibility for a while now, and I've always seen the Transcript as a MUST
requirement in my mind, although as you note, it currently isn't. I guess
it's the difference between meeting the minimum compliance bar, and "doing
the right thing" kind of argument...

From a production standpoint however, I'd further argue that once you've got
the dialog converted to text (for the captions) and the descriptions as text
(suggested by Technique H96: Using the track element to provide audio
descriptions), that generating a transcript would likely not require a whole
lot more effort (Captions + Descriptions + a tiny bit more if required =

Today, I am primarily more concerned about meeting AA for multi-media
overall, as my suspicion is that many folks really don't fully understand
what is required for the audio description part, given that it seems simply
getting captions provided is still an apparent uphill battle for many. The
complexity of creating the descriptions (the script), getting it recorded,
and then synchronizing those audio descriptions with the primary media asset
so that one voice doesn't "step" on the other... add in the lack of any form
of native support in user agents... and, we just don't seem to be there
quite yet technically; yet there it is, a AA Level conformance requirement.

I was unaware of the Chrome extensions that Loretta pointed out (off to
check them out next), and so that shows promise, however having support in
only one browser (via user-installed plugins) feels quite brittle to me
today - is all.