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Live Captioning: 4 Best Practices for a Successful Virtual Event

Live captioning workflows have existed for decades. But in the era of the virtual event or virtual meeting, what does it take to ensure seamless integration of live captioning to make each event a success? Here are four key points to consider.

Live Captioning workflows have existed since the early ‘80s and have, over the years, matured to an extent where, today, everything from live news, sports broadcasts, award ceremonies, and other prominent events are seamlessly captioned and broadcast not only for the benefit of hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired audiences but also to a wider audience across the world that can access these programs thanks to the widespread use of the Internet.

With the advent of Internet-enabled technologies, captioning has now entered the boardroom of multinational or cross-border organizations where employees from diverse cultural backgrounds could participate and “be present” in “virtual” meetings, discussions, and other important events that aim to promote an inclusive audience. In 2020 alone, on average 11 million meetings were held daily, with middle managers spending 35% of their time in meetings, while upper management spent 50% of their time in meetings. (Sources: Attentiv, KornFerry, The Muse). Web and video conferencing software category saw incredible growth with products like Zoom, this led to an increase in daily active users of 2,900% in the span of first 4 months of 2020. (Source: Bloomberg).

To make captioning these events a success, one must follow a set of best practices that can help achieve a high success rate and quality with negligible or no room for error.

Below are some points to consider to ensure that your next live event is a winner.

Woman laptop virtual event

So How to Host a Successful Virtual Event?

1. Choose Your Platform

With tens of platforms available today to host live meetings or events, it could be intimidating to select a platform that offers the best choice of features. However, with a well-defined set of requirements, it is straightforward to choose a platform that can meet your expectations. Quite literally, there’s a platform to suit every budget (free or paid services), offering a variety of options ranging from participant size, video delivery requirements, and third-party integration, including streaming on social media. Other features include video streaming platforms such as YouTube, participant engagement features such as live Q&A, audience polls, breakout sessions, and many more. A bouquet of features to choose from!

2. Choose Your Languages

Adding captioning & translations to your event can immensely widen your company’s presence and improve overall participation. This is simply one of the best ways to ensure that your brand or event is not limited only to the English-speaking community. Live translation of captions makes these sessions available to people across diverse backgrounds whose first language is not English. New AI-based translation engines like SyncWords can translate human-generated captions accurately into as many as 100 different languages, so take advantage of this feature.

3. Choose the Right Technology

For the quality of the event to be high and to facilitate the accuracy of the content, it is crucial to have the proper setup. It is also critical for captioning as it is a direct interpretation of audio content in textual format. All subsequent translations are based on the captions. Therefore, all components such as web cameras, microphones, and internet connectivity must be of the best quality possible. It might be a good idea to have wired internet connectivity and not Wi-Fi to avoid any dropouts leading to missed or incomplete information. Remember, your event is only as good as the technology you use. The proper infrastructure goes a long way in contributing to the success of any event. Poor work conferencing practices have been found to lead to annual losses in billions caused by things like lost productivity and time.

4. Coordination & Documentation

To facilitate a smooth event, it is critical to have personnel that can efficiently coordinate internally as well as externally with the caption delivery teams. This way, any technical issues that arise are swiftly resolved. This is especially critical as the event occurs in real-time, and any major delays could lead to an unsuccessful event. Remember to provide any reference documents regarding the subject of the event in advance. These might come in handy to the captioner for accurately creating the captions. Additionally, it is essential to supply a housekeeping document that provides the audience instructions on how to:

  • access and/or sign in to an event
  • outlines any other features that are important for the audience to actively engage in.

Ensuring basic etiquette and event hygiene enables greater participation, increasing the chances of the success rate of the event.

Get in touch with the SyncWords Team for your next Live Event Captioning and Multilingual Subtitling, and we will ensure that it’s worth it!

SyncWords embraces Inclusion and Accessibility for all Virtual Meetings as its primary goals, offering Captions and Multilingual Subtitles as the primary tools for achieving them.

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