Accessibility Support - Captions For The Hearing Impaired
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Captioning Support Statement
All of our podcasts follow the device's standard for supporting live captioning.
It was time to put one out with instructions, as we are increasingly getting questions and feedback about accessibility.
Fortunately, we hold a number of technical certifications, and have enough competency in the subject to provide some assistance; the challenge is that there’s no way to know what device you’re using when you come to our service. We don’t even know that you’re coming to our service - we’re available through multiple top podcasting platforms, and many people just add the podcast to their tool of choice. Might not even be a platform, might just be a podcast app such as Podcast Guru.
Podcasts take two forms: video and/or audio. Most audio podcasts don’t use closed captioning; they may use a form of transcription service that makes the spoken text available to interact with (federal and local government sites do this for their hearings). These are paid services, and for podcasts that don’t charge or use ads, may not be feasible; thus the use of live captioning instead, which is fully supported on Basic Cryptonomics and A Gentleman's World (For The Love Of Boxing is YouTube only, which uses Closed Captioning).
Recognizing this challenge, operating systems (which is what you see when you use your device) are generally responsible for ensuring compatibility with live captions. It also means we can’t always control the ability to see these captions, because your operating system may or may not support it (it’s rare that there’s zero support. More often, the support is incomplete or insufficient for the user.)
Do note that some words may not be picked up correctly by the captioning engine, either because they’re not really words (“doot, doot, doot!”) or for where there are similar words in play and the engine can’t pick up the context or inflection (where vs. wear, for example). From our testing though, the engine does a very good job transcribing what we say into the captions accurately, as we’ve invested a lot of time and money into audio quality and fidelity and work to speak as clearly as possible.
Closed Captioning vs. Live Captioning
First, it’s important to understand the difference in terminology.
Previously, referred to captions that were provided either as part of the pre-recorded broadcast or by the network when it was aired - but this almost always refers to television/video based captioning. It didn’t matter what TV you were using. YouTube uses Closed Captioning as a process that is done when videos are uploaded that have spoken audio detected; it will create the captions after upload and present them when a user requests them. This is done by a single checkbox for the YouTube Creator for every video (enabled by default), and then enabled by a checkbox on the user’s playback settings.
Refers to captions that use software/hardware to provide captions on-the-fly. It doesn’t care what the service is, it simply waits for detected spoken audio and goes to work. An example of this is when you use your microphone to perform a Google Search, or Siri Search, and it displays text back that you spoke. Services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams provide this functionality directly in the interface. There are also apps on Apple and Android that can do this for you for non-recorded settings, such as in a face-to-face meeting.
We put together a basic rubric for enabling live caption functionality, so that your device will automagically provide captions as the audio is heard. Please access our interactive tool to help with instructions on how to do this. This is information is gleaned from various sources across the Interwebs and centralized for your convenience; the steps involved have been heavily tested on Windows 10/11 and Android 10 and above. The tool is below. Please note that the steps outlined are not specific to our podcasts; you can use them for any service on these devices.
Laptop or Desktop Computer (Microsoft Windows, Apple OS, etc.)
Live Captions on Windows require minimum Windows 10. Lesser versions may work, but are not supported by this tool.
Live Captions on Mac OS may require a specific version or greater as well. If you don't see the settings indicated, you may need to do some upgrades.
Live Captioning is supported through your browser. If you normally listen using software on your computer (i.e. iTunes/Spotify/Audible, etc.), you will need to link to the web version. We'll do our best to help you - it's not that much different (and may actually help speed your computer up a bit.)
Because there are so many services we don't provide instructions on each; they generally all have the same basic steps. You're looking for a "Get Link" or "Share" or "Copy Link" somewhere near the episode you want to listen to, or if you want to do it for the entire podcast, it will be somewhere near the Subscribe function. For example, in iTunes, it is under the "PRICE" column, when you click the arrow next to "Get" for a specific episode, or under the logo to the left, when you click the arrow next to "Subscribe" for the whole podcast.
The easier way to do this is to simply login to whatever service through their website (itunes.com, audible.com, stitcher.com, etc.). They may kick you back to the software (iTunes tends to do this) - if so, you'll need to find the link as mentioned above so you can go directly and bypass the redirect.
We also provide direct web links to the podcast services through our site - you can click whichever service you prefer. We recommend Spotify or Substack for consistency.
Note that iTunes will not allow web login, but you should still be able to play the podcasts.
Instructions To Enable On Chrome (Laptop or Desktop)
Here's a link to instructions for enabling captions in Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/10538231?hl=en
Mobile Phones or Tablets
There are generally two mobile operating systems in active supported use: Android and iOS.
Android version 10 and greater supports Live Captions on select supported devices. Here is a link to the guide for this function. This should work with anything that plays audio, including apps and web streams.
Apple iOS, as of this writing, does NOT support Live Captions for audio only - this is an Apple limitation and only with mobile. Mac OS (computer) is supported.
You will need to find an app in the App Store that provides this functionality, and generally, will only work based on what it hears through the speaker (i.e. will likely not work with AirPods or other headphones).
Without providing an endorsement, we found MiniSpeech which appears to provide this functionality but is lesser known, and Live Transcribe which is more well known.