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Campaign Captioning is Affordable, Fast and Necessary

Posted on: 10/17/2014 2:24:08 PM under News 


Closed captioning is a fast, affordable solution for making TV commercials, or "spots," accessible to over 50 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans. The gubernatorial candidates in Maryland now know this as well as anyone.

On Thursday, October 9th, in Baltimore, the hopefuls for the highest Maryland office participated in a forum hosted by the National Federation for the Blind that focused on disability rights issues. The moderator asked each of the candidates -- who appeared separately at the forum -- why they had chosen not to add closed captioning to their televised political ads.

Lt. Governor and Democratic hopeful Anthony G. Brown cited cost as a factor and answered, according to The Washington Post, that "the resources available to my campaign aren't nearly the resources available in state government." Republican Boyd Rutherford, standing in for Larry Hogan, argued that he was not directly involved in the process of creating ads, but stated that cost was not likely a factor in the decision. The Libertarian candidate, Shawn Quinn, said that he would have included captions if he could have afforded television ads.

Brown, who has a substantial lead in the race with less than three weeks before election day, has benefited from high-profile endorsements from former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. He had raised over $11 million for his campaign as of May. By contrast, closed captioning for a single TV spot costs $75.

VITAC captions thousands of TV spots per year, many of which are prepared and turned around in the same day. Captions, which are mandated on all full-length broadcast programs, bring an advertiser's message to millions of Americans -- and voters.

To inquire about captioning TV spots, please call (724) 514-4077.

by Carlin Twedt



What Puts VITAC Above Fansubbing and Other Amateur Captioning Solutions?

Posted on: 10/1/2014 1:20:31 PM under News 


With the rise of so-called "fansubbing," or fans of a particular movie or television show creating their own captions and subtitles, it is important to stress the amount of talent and professionalism required to produce quality accessible media. Though it may be possible for any amateur to produce words on a video, the difference between the right word and the almost right word, as Mark Twain said, is "the difference between lighting and a lightning bug." VITAC has been perfecting its captioning and subtitling processes for over 28 years and is proud to boast the best captions and subtitles available.

Just a few of the many points that make VITAC's professional captioning and subtitling the only logical solution:

Highly Skilled Personnel: All Offline Captioners have degrees in English, Journalism, or a related field, and must pass a comprehensive grammar test before hire.

Qualified Translation: VITAC works with contractors in over 50 countries around the world who provide not only word-for-word translation but consistency from one show episode to the next and attention to the "color" of the work. 

Verification: All proper names and uncommon terms in offline programs, including names of cities and characters, must be researched and verified for accuracy. The correct spelling of the word and the reliable source where the spelling could be found must be listed on a Verification Sheet, which remains on file in case of discrepancies.

Caption Breaks/Line Breaks: When "breaking" captions, or separating dialogue into separate lines, VITAC makes sure to keep compound names on the same lines and to start new lines with prepositional phrases ("with the President," "before disaster strikes").

Fast Turnaround: Our standard turnaround for caption and subtitle files of up to an hour in duration is 3-4 business days.

To learn more about VITAC's top-quality services, please visit our services page.



VITAC Announces New Director of Multilanguage Services

Posted on: 9/26/2014 4:33:15 PM under News 


VITAC is pleased to announce that effective September 29, 2014, Bob Beyer will be the new Director of Multilanguage Services (MLS). Bob joined VITAC in 1990 and helped grow our Offline Department, opening the Washington, D.C. office in 1992. In subsequent years he became the leader of our Los Angeles Offline Captioner group.

In his new role, Bob will be leading a department responsible for marrying the expertise of six employees, in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, with hundreds of independent contractor translators in over 50 countries around the world. His leadership and knowledge of the prerecorded captioning and subtitling industry will be an invaluable contribution to our MLS team.

Director of Prerecorded Operations Dina Smith will also transition into a new role, taking over responsibility for 100% of VITAC's offline captioning operations. Dina joined VITAC in 1990, and what was then a two-person Offline Department now consists of 74 Captioners in seven states. She has led through FCC mandates for TV captions, the transition to digital and HD distribution, explosive cable expansion, and now web captioning.

From everyone at VITAC, we wish Bob and Dina the best of luck in their new roles!



New Contact Info For Los Angeles Office

Posted on: 9/19/2014 3:17:46 PM under News 


VITAC's LA office underwent an important upgrade this week, aimed at improving customer service and streamlining communications within VITAC. The improvement involved an overhaul of the phone systems to allow Vice President, West Coast Sales Maggie McDermott and SVP, Market Development Deborah Schuster to be reached directly, without having to contact an operator. Their new contact information is as follows:

Maggie McDermott Deborah Schuster
Vice President, West Coast Sales SVP, Market Development
(818) 286-3542 (818) 286-3541

The main number, (818) 755-0410, still connects to LA reception. As always, you can reach members of our Client Sales and Services team at (724) 514-4077 or



September Giveaway Bonanza!

Posted on: 9/5/2014 12:25:33 PM under News 


September is one of VITAC's busiest months, with college and pro football adding an enormous volume of work to both our Realtime and Offline Departments. As Realtime Captioners work nearly every weekend, the Production Coordinators take on overtime to support them, and the Offline Captioners work extra hours to accommodate short turnarounds, we decided to create the first-ever September Giveaway Bonanza!

Every weekday in September, the production staff will be eligible to win gift cards, mystery bags, and even a 32" flat-screen TV! One winner is chosen from the pool of Realtime Captioners each day, as well as one winner from the Production Coordinator/Schedulers/Supervisors/Offline Captioners/MLS/CSS groups of employees.

Sales and Marketing Project Manager Crystal Hopkins, who came up with the idea, also administers the project. "We wanted to do something new and fun for employees to show our appreciation for all their hard work," said Crystal. "Who doesn't like a chance to be a winner?!" The response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive...and we haven't even given away the flat screen yet!



New FCC Best Practices, Summarized by VITAC

Posted on: 8/21/2014 4:57:31 PM under News 


In January, the FCC released a Report and Order documenting a new set of closed captioning best practices, which will go into effect January 15, 2015. The Report and Order, a comprehensive, 150-page document, details the new requirements but also mentions the state of new technology in the industry and discusses the contributions of the players in the best practices rulings (including VITAC), among other significant details.

We at VITAC took upon ourselves the challenge of consolidating the FCC Report and Order for the sake of understanding, at a glance, the pieces and parts of the ruling that would most directly affect our customers. The linked document is a one-page summary of the FCC's ruling, divided into three sections: responsibilities of video programmers, responsibilities of captioning vendors/Captioners, and critical definitions for understanding the new rulings.

To discuss compliance certification and the new mandates, please email



DOJ Considers Requiring Captions at the Movies

Posted on: 8/8/2014 4:36:16 PM under News 


DOJOn July 25th, the Department of Justice proposed a new rule requiring captioning and audio description in movie theaters with digital screens. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, would amend the Americans with Disabilities Act, which became law in 1990.

Under the new rule, theaters would be required to provide a headset or device to any patron upon request, through which the viewer could see the movie captions, hear the descriptive audio, or both. The captions would only be visible, and the descriptions audible, to those who request the headset or device. The motion also asks for comments on whether a four-year grace period for theaters with analog screens was appropriate.

The proposed rulemaking went into the federal register on August 1, and asks for a six month transition period for digital theaters, after which they would be expected to comply with the new regulations. "This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with disabilities, to fully participate in the moviegoing experience," Holder said.

Click here to learn about one unique solution for displaying captioning and audio description at the movies.



Merrill Corporation Welcomes CEO Rusty Wiley

Posted on: 7/31/2014 12:32:37 PM under News 


Today, July 31, will mark Rusty Wiley's first official calendar month as CEO of Merrill Corporation, of which VITAC is proud to be a part. The change comes after the retirement of former CEO John Castro, who held the CEO position for an impressive 30 years. "Rusty is a talented, proven executive that I've had the pleasure of recruiting to the team," said Castro in a Merrill news release. "He is ready and capable of continuing to enhance Merrill's success as an international company."

James "Rusty" Wiley comes to Merrill from IBM, where he worked for 26 years, serving most recently as General Manager of Banking and Financial Services. "I'm excited to join the Merrill team and build on a rock solid foundation. I will be focused on the needs of our clients, employees and investors, and delivering superior client service and innovative solutions that both differentiate our Company and support the success of our customers," said Wiley.

Congratulations, Rusty, and welcome to Merrill!



VITAC Captioning New Web Series "Friends in Therapy"

Posted on: 7/25/2014 4:18:44 PM under News 


VITAC is pleased to caption the new and hilarious web series Friends in Therapy, a bro-medy that documents best buds Joe and Daryl's sessions on the couch in friend therapy -- think couples' therapy, but between two bachelors. Aside from the occasional guest star, Joe and Daryl are the only cast members in the 2-3-minute clips, with the viewer taking on the therapist's perspective as the guys discuss cheating at Scrabble, ex-girlfriends, and being wingmen for each other.

The actors, Joe Towne and Daryl Johnson, have mastered the burgeoning art of the short-form web series: the simple setup and emphasis on a solid script and everyday conflicts that any roommate, little brother, or spouse will understand. What makes "FiT" unique is the comfort with which each of them supply tough love, and the good nature with which the other one takes it. They bill the series as "completely raw and unscripted," which I took to be tongue-in-cheek until I hit "play": the two bicker, banter, and finish each other's sentences with such comfort, that it was easy to imagine the show's two seasons being shot in one take, and segmented into episodes like "Extra Bacon" and "Twinsies." When there is a "Bromance" genre, this will be at the top of our list.

Joe and Daryl decided to caption their series because of a deaf viewer's request, but the captions also benefit the series' heavy use of wordplay. In season 1, episode 2 (embedded below), when the guys talk about Joe's supposed drunk-angry-tired Long Island accent, Daryl astutely points out Joe's usage of "I'm 'pologize" in place of "I apologize," a distinction that only high-quality captions such as VITAC's would be able to express. As with other VITAC-captioned web series like Oh, Liza and Pittsburgh Dad, captions improve a series' SEO rankings in a search engine, allowing them to reach wider audiences. To inquire about captioning your web series, please email


by Carlin Twedt



FCC Issues New Rules for Captioning Web Clips

Posted on: 7/11/2014 3:14:18 PM under News 


Today the FCC voted unanimously to approve new rules regarding captioning for clips of TV shows posted on the web. The rules are an extension of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The FCC approved the following measures unanimously:

-Beginning January 1, 2016, clips taken directly from shows that aired with captions on TV must be captioned on the web.

-Beginning January 1, 2017, clips that include montages of a program or programs that aired on TV must be captioned on the web.

-Beginning July 1, 2016, live and near-live clips of programming that aired with captions on TV will be required to be captioned online. Distributors will have a 12-hour grace period to associate live programming with captions on the web. The grace period for near-live clips to be captioned online is 8 hours.

These requirements do not apply to content that is already in a distributor's library. The announcement also included new proposed rulemaking for future web captioning requirements.

VITAC has comprehensive solutions in place for meeting all of the above requirements.  For a consultation on how to caption clips for prerecorded shows, please call (724) 514-4077. For information on captioning clips taken from live shows, you may call the same number or view our IP-Ready live captioning solutions (PDF).


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