Community Challenge: Let’s Caption All WordCamp Videos

I challenge all WordCamp speakers to caption their WordCamp videos on WordPress.tv.

2015 was the year the WordPress community started taking web accessibility seriously, and both in WordPress Core and in themes, plugins, WordCamp talks, even WordCamps and WordPress Meetups, accessibility is becoming a first-level citizen.

As we start writing “2016”, let’s use this momentum to make information about WordPress more accessible to all.I challenge all WordCamp speakers to caption their WordCamp videos on WordPress.tv.

The information contained in the thousands of videos on WordPress.tv, from WordCamps, Meetups, and elsewhere, is invaluable to anyone wanting to learn about WordPress or wanting to expand their existing knowledge. Unfortunately, only a few of these videos have captioning because captioning takes time and effort.

If every community member who has had the privilege of speaking at an event and had their talk recorded and uploaded to WordPress.tv invested the time to caption their videos, either by doing it themselves or getting (paying?) someone else to do it, we would dramatically increase the accessibility of WordPress training materials.

In the process, we would also reap other benefits:

First of all, captioning is not just for the hard of hearing: Studies show a vast majority of TV and video viewers use closed captioning for increased comprehension. If you’ve watched a lot of WordPress.tv talks you’ll also know that the audio quality isn’t always the best, so captioning will help everyone.

Secondly, captioning your videos means others can translate them into other languages making them accessible to people who don’t speak the original language the video was recorded in.

Thirdly, I will put forward a proposal to publish the full transcripts of all WordPress.tv videos with the videos. This will allow visitors to make their own decisions about how to consume the content, and will allow search engines and other tools to index the contents of the videos properly.

Practicing What I Preach

To make sure I’m not making an impossible request, I have already started captioning my own WordPress.tv videos, and my goal is to have all of them captioned by the end of February (I’m realistic about my time).

The actual process of captioning a WordPress.tv video is relatively straight forward thanks to Amara.org. The full process is explained in the video below (a full rundown is also provided when you click the “Subtitle this video” link on each video page):

Captioning a 10 minute video took me about 60 minutes (mostly due to getting used to the interface and my severe dyslexia) and I expect once I get used to the tool it should take me about 2 hours to caption a 45 minute talk. In the grand scheme of things this is a minute investment to ensure more people can access (and possibly translate?) my talks, and it’s one I think all speakers should commit to.

Build Better Accessibility Together

If every one of us commits to captioning our own videos, the burden of what would otherwise be an insurmountable task becomes one that is shared in a fair and achievable way. If other community members pitch in, that task becomes even simpler.

By working together, we can make WordPress accessible, and part of this job is captioning each and every WordPress.tv video. We can do this, and we can do it well, so let’s get crackin’!

5 Comments

  1. Hi Morten, this seems like a very worthwhile challenge to the community.

    I recently posted a tutorial on my site on how to add captioning to YouTube videos using a paid service named Rev.com. Their cost is $1.00 per minute. I have no affiliation with them other than being happy with their quality and fast turnaround.

    I used the text file I received to upload into YouTube and let them “automatically” add the captioning to sync with my voice. It was really quite easy.

    In the future, perhaps the team at WordPress.tv could adapt this same system allowing users to upload captioning text to automatically sync, or even further, work a deal with Rev or some other service to provide the captioning translation and addition to videos after upload.

    Either way, I’m agreed that adding captions to all WordPress.tv videos a step in the right direction for further global engagement with WordPress.

    I’ve linked to my tutorial with my signature if you’re curious to see how it was done.

  2. Count me in! I gave two talks at WordCamps this year, both on accessibility, so I have no excuse not to do this. I’m also in Seattle where the local meetup just changed their documentation meetup to a contributor meetup. Hopefully I can go and help some people get started on captioning more videos there.

    For others considering captioning videos, let me say that getting started on this was *WAY* easier than I expected. The Amara interface is great and the 2-minute intro video from WordPress.tv is really helpful. I was captioning in 10 minutes and got 5 minutes done yesterday.

    (Fun aside: Captioning a video of a video with a screen reader talking over a person is a total pain!)

  3. This is wonderful Morten, a huge thank you for everything you do on the internet (but especially for this)!

    I have some hearing, now improved thanks to new hearing aids (yay!) and if I can be of any help in proofreading your captions/transcripts (that’s part of my day job), do let me know.

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