Change of Speaker
[Latest Blog and News]
Posted on: 3/25/2015 11:04:20 AM
The year was 1986. Heart's "These Dreams" was the number one song on the charts, "The Cosby Show" was America's favorite sitcom, and VITAC was founded to provide closed captioning as CaptionAmerica to one local news client in Pittsburgh.
This month, we celebrate our 29th anniversary. A lot has certainly changed over the years, including our name! We changed it to VITAC in 1993 to stand for Vital Access, referring to access to media services for everyone.
We've also grown significantly since then. In addition to our original realtime captioning services, we offer offline captioning, Spanish offline and realtime captioning, captioning for the web, subtitling, and multi-language subtitling in over 45 languages. We caption over 220,000 realtime hours and over 28,000 offline hours every year and counting! VITAC also now employs 330 of us at our headquarters in Canonsburg, PA, in our Los Angeles, CA office, and remotely all over the country.
Here's to 29 wonderful years, and many more to come!
Posted on: 3/17/2015 4:21:22 PM
Get your brackets ready and hope your team doesn't get upset! VITAC
is captioning the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament on truTV, TBS and TNT!
The tournament kicked off with our captions on truTV on St. Patrick's Day when Hampton defeated Manhattan and Ole Miss advanced over BYU. Coverage continued Wednesday night when Dayton knocked off Boise State to move into the tournament and Robert Morris beat North Florida to advance for a game against number 1 seed, Duke.
The round of 64 tips off this afternoon. You can catch our realtime captions starting at 12:40 PM on truTV when Iowa State takes on UAB, 1:40 PM when Baylor plays Georgia State on TBS, and at 2:10 PM when Texas Southern will try to upset the number 2 seed, Arizona on TNT.
Our realtime department is busy "warming up" for the tournament. Our realtime steno captioners are vigorously preparing and researching each team's roster, stats, and practicing writing names of the various announcers. If they're scheduled to caption a game, they're ready for anything to happen!
The sports supervisors and realtime coordinators are getting pumped up for their setups of each game: Testing with each captioner 20 minutes before the start of the pre-game, ensuring all of the correct connections to each network and the web, and being ready to troubleshoot at a moment's notice! They also have to keep track of the game clock. A lot of these games run longer than scheduled and are supposed to be immediately followed with another match-up!
And let's not forget about our realtime schedulers who are responsible for assigning a captioner to each and every game! They're true team players!
If you're watching any of the 24 March Madness games on truTV, TBS or TNT in this first week of the tournament, turn on the captions while keeping up with your bracket and hoping it doesn't get busted early!
By Brittany Bender
Posted on: 2/27/2015 1:54:11 PM
VITAC is thrilled to be captioning The Voice once again. This season is extra special, because we feel particularly close to one of the contestants.
16-year-old Treeva Gibson giving her coaching decision on "The Voice".
16-year-old Treeva Gibson
is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), as both of her parents are deaf. Her mother is a teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf and her father is a teacher at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, of which VITAC is a proud supporter. Our Director of Pre-recorded Operations Dina Smith, also fluent in ASL, verified that the ASL in some of the segments matched onscreen subtitles.
Newly-returned judge Christina Aguilera (also a connection - she is from Pittsburgh) was blown away by Treeva's rendition of Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful." Christina said that she was "captivated" by her performance. Blake Shelton was surprised when he learned that Treeva didn't have many musical influence since both her parents are deaf. "I feel like I just heard something that I've never heard before," said Shelton. Treeva spoke and signed her choice of Christina to be her coach during her "Voice" experience.
There's so much wonderful talent already this season, so there's no doubt the competition will be fierce! Check out the full first episode with captions here and make sure to tune in on Monday at 8:00 PM on NBC as the blind auditions continue!
Posted on: 2/16/2015 3:52:08 PM
While your favorite actors, directors and musicians are preparing their wardrobe and acceptance speeches for Sunday's Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been preparing a weekly video web series,
, for almost a year. The series began in May of 2014, and VITAC has been providing the captions for the program since the beginning!
The Academy Originals series takes a documentary-style look into the art, science and creative process of filmmaking in short 2-5 minute videos. There are a few recurring topics such as "Let's go to the Movies," in which an actor views any film of their choice in the academy's extensive archive and analyzes it afterwards. Other themes of the series include "Creative Spark," in which viewers receive a glimpse inside the minds of the artists in front of and behind the camera, and "Day in the Life," that chronicles the behind-the-scenes processes with industry professionals.
Before you tune in to the biggest awards show of the year this Sunday, take some time to enjoy a few of these informative and entertaining video segments. Learn some history, trivia and experiences of what went into making some of the best films of all time. New episodes are available every Monday and can be seen here or on the Academy Originals YouTube channel. To turn on the English captions, click the "CC" icon at the bottom right of the video screen.
Posted on: 2/6/2015 11:46:09 AM
Have you ever wondered where closed captioning comes from and how it gets to your television? VITAC's very own Chief Operations Officer, Chuck Karlovits
explained the ins and outs of the captioning process on 90.5 WESA's afternoon talk show, Essential Pittsburgh
Essential Pittsburgh is a radio show that airs every weekday from noon to 1PM on Pittsburgh's NPR station and features issues that face Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas and often focuses on local business.
Listen to Chuck's conversation with host, Paul Guggenheimer here
or listen via podcast
Posted on: 1/8/2015 11:40:43 AM
Roll out the red carpet, call the fashion police and turn the captions on! VITAC
is captioning this Sunday's Golden Globe Awards live on NBC. Coverage begins with the pre-show at 7:00 PM hosted by Carson Daly and Matt Lauer. Their "Today Show" co-stars Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie will also interview the stars as they take the famed walk down the carpet. The ceremony follows at 8:00 PM and will be hosted by the dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third consecutive year.
Our team of production coordinators
is vigorously helping the scheduled captioner prepare documents of names of actors, movies, television shows and song lyrics for the show. Realtime captioner Adrian Jonas
is no stranger to writing ceremonies such as the Golden Globes. "The most challenging part of writing an awards show is the research that is done ahead of time compiling a list of all the nominees, movie titles, characters and songs and having them at your fingertips so you can write them in order for them to translate correctly," said Adrian. Prepping for the pre-show can be just as challenging. "You have to know the difference between Louis Vuitton and Louboutin since they sound very similar."
On the big night, one of our star coordinators will set up the fabulous realtime captioner with all the proper connections. They'll then perform a test with NBC to ensure captions at the start of the show. The captioner will be ready for anything, with names of nominees
like David Oyelowo and Uzo Aduba already in their captioning dictionaries to avoid misspelling them.
Will VITAC-captioned "Orange is the New Black" win for best comedy or musical series? Can James Spader take home the Globe for best actor in VITAC-captioned and favorite "The Blacklist"? How will Amy and Tina top themselves as hosts for the final time? As they say in show business, "there's nothing like live TV," and we'll be there to caption it all as it happens!
The Golden Globe award was born in 1943 when a few writers formed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and decided that it would annually honor achievements in filmmaking. The first ceremony was held in 1944. Today, the HFPA consists of about 90 members from all over the world that view and critique international television and film. Golden Globe statues are presented to the top actors, directors, musicians and composers.
By Brittany Bender
Posted on: 12/15/2014 11:16:22 AM
In 2014 we celebrate 24 years of a wonderful holiday tradition with the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Each year, students from the school submit artistic interpretations of a suggested theme, and send them to VITAC headquarters, where the art is displayed and employees vote for their favorite. We choose multiple finalists and a grand prize winner, and recognize each with a certificate and cash prize during a presentation at the school's December assembly. This year's theme was "Holidays Unwrapped." We're happy to announce this year's winners!
This year's grand winner is Destiny Tanner, age 14. Art and math are her favorite school subjects and she plans to attend Gallaudet University to further her education after she graduates from WPSD. Congratulations, Destiny!
Congratulations to our other six finalists and to all of the WPSD holiday art participants!
Posted on: 10/24/2014 2:43:22 PM
Emirates is now offering audio-described programming on its flights. The Dubai based airline is the first to offer the service, which benefits blind and low-vision viewers. Films that will be offered with audio description include 16 Disney productions, including Frozen, Toy Story 3, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
"Making entertainment accessible to our diverse customers is important to us" said Emirates' VP Corporate Communications Patrick Brannelly. "It was our motivation to introduce movies that can be enjoyed by customers with visual difficulties."
Emirates was one of the first airlines to introduce closed captioning for its in-flight entertainment. Though captioning has been mandated for broadcast TV networks for over two decades, most airlines do not offer it as an option for their in-flight content. Audio description is mandated for select networks, for at least 200 hours of programming per year.
Emirates has won the SKYTRAX World Airlines award for "Best Inflight Entertainment" for 10 consecutive years.
Posted on: 10/17/2014 2:24:08 PM
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
Posted on: 10/1/2014 1:20:31 PM
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.
Search by Date
Search Title by Keyword