These are answers to some of the frequently asked questions we get about accessibility.

Do I need to provide captions for live video? (And where does it say so?)

The policy that you’re looking for is 8.11.


The specific spot you want is section 2.a.4:

Website development and purchases, including development and purchases for major revisions and updates of existing WSU websites, will conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA.

The WCAG standards require captions for all video.  

There you want to focus on guideline 1.2.  Part 1.2.4 specifically addresses live video:

Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media.

What the WCAG does not provide is guidance on the level of accuracy required for captions.  Often the folks selling human captioning service will give you a percentage of accuracy that is acceptable, but the FCC set standards in 2014 that do not allow for a percentage of error, and simply require that they be accurate.  The FCC standards also require the identification of speakers and punctuation, both of which are not possible with ACS-only solutions.  The National Association of the Deaf has a page that has a more digestible version of those standards.

In the MRC we are conducting our own limited experiments with ACS-only live captions, but in our experience the captions are not accurate enough, and without the other features it’s difficult to assert that ACS is adequate at this time. 

Human captioning of live events is not 100% accurate, but it remains the standard that we need to achieve. A less expensive solution, like ACS, is not a reasonable alternative if it is not as accruate as human captioning.  For ACS to be accepted as an adequate solution it would have to substantially equivalent accuracy to human captioning.

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