Gruber: “[J]ust three years ago it took five weeks after the close of WWDC for the session videos to appear. Now Apple has it down to four days.”

Yes, but the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference videos were provided with a kind of half-assed captioning masquerading as subtitles. I hate saying this sort of thing is better than nothing, but it was.

Video still with all-bottom-centred Helvetica “subtitle” (with non-speech information)

What remains unresolved is the fact that Apple’s own videos, including keynotes and WWDC sessions, are almost invariably uncaptioned. Apple can afford captioning. The issue then becomes turnaround time.

  • Do we want videos never to be published without captioning? It’s perfectly possible, even for WWDC videos (39 roughly-50-minute, two roughly-one-hour, and one roughly-half-hour items). I am quite sure that Vitac could produce pop-on-caption files for about 40 hours of captioning in two business days. (Every shift of every office, even the tiny one in D.C., would be working on it, but they could do it.) Almost any established high-volume shop, even the dried husk of Captions, Inc., could do it in a week. (Obviously I wouldn’t use NCI or any mom-’n’-pop shop. And mixed case only!)

    For Apple keynotes, it’s an hour or two of video that goes online at iTunes a couple of days later. Also perfectly doable.

  • The other option is to ship first, caption later, which, again, any established high-volume shop can handle. (Then you’d have to replace all the videos on iTunes.)

Rush jobs are expensive, but Apple has the money. Apple can afford it either way. My contention is it is straightforward and affordable to caption every Apple video available on iTunes, irrespective of age, and to do so for future videos immediately after they are picture-locked and frozen. In principle, transcripts could also be included, but let’s talk about that another day.

And at no time whatsoever must Apple be tempted to attempt captioning in-house, which I believe is the only thing it has ever done for any video that isn’t a TV commercial. On that topic: TV commercials have to be captioned in every place where captioned commercials are possible. I can attest this is not the case in Canada. It needs to be fixed. All this needs to be fixed.

Because I thought Apple was committed to accessibility.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2012.06.20 12:55. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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