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New iTunes Requirement: Content Must Have CC

Posted on: 7/1/2015 5:30:27 PM under News 

   Do you produce video content for distribution in the iTunes store? If so, there is a new requirement for any and all content: Videos must include closed captioning and/or subtitles.

The rule is in effect now and applies in the following ways:

  • Any television show episode in English must have closed captioning whether it aired on United States television or not.
  • Movies in English must have either closed captions, encoded subtitles, or both.
  • Movies or TV shows without English audio must have English subtitles.
  • Promotional and bonus material delivered to iTunes and live after June 30, 2015 must have closed captioning.
  • iTunes extras must have closed captioning or encoded subtitles.

This new stipulation took effect June 30, 2015, and as of July 1, iTunes began removing any content not compliant with their new regulations.

VITAC offers a quick turnaround solution for short form videos and can help make yours iTunes ready!

We also offer encoding and translation services in addition to our prerecorded captioning solutions.

Contact us for more details!



A Taste of VITAC Summer

Posted on: 6/26/2015 9:22:46 AM under News 

   You're invited to VITAC's Summer barbecue! Well, maybe not physically, but you can make some of our team members' favorite Summer dishes for your own get-together.

VITAC's internal employee newsletter, ViTalk, held a Summer BBQ/Picnic recipe contest this past month. We asked all employees across all departments to send in their best recipe for this time of year for the grill, or for a dish that they'd bring to a potluck picnic.

Our offline department captions tons of cooking shows, and it seems that some of our team members could actually star in some of them! We received many entries, so we compiled a few of them together to create the ultimate VITAC Summer meal:


PIMM's Cup 


  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Pimm's No. 1
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1 cucumber slice
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (5-6 leaves)


  1. Fill highball glass with ice.
  2. Add Pimm's, then top with ginger beer.
  3. Garnish with cucumber slice and mint sprig.
Appetizers/Side Dishes:

Joe's Zesty Corn Salad submitted by Multi-Language Specialist Chris Hyde:


  • 8 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil fresh corn in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Remove and then plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Cut kernels off cobs.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
  3. Chill thoroughly. Before serving, garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Cold Thai Noodle Salad submitted by Realtime Captioner Patty Nelson:


  • 1 lb. of spaghetti
  • Dressing: 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce (siracha)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Extras: 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Optional: snow peas, bean sprouts, Napa cabbage


  1. Cook noodles al dente. Strain and rinse under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together noodles, vegetables and 2/3 of the dressing.
  3. Chill at least 2 hours. Before serving, pour extra dressing over noodles and top with sesame seeds, cilantro and green onion.

Main Dishes:

"Lost" Burgers submitted by Multi-Language Services Manager Dan Garbark:


  • burger pattys and buns
  • pineapple slices
  • chipped ham (lunchmeat)
  • provolone cheese slices
  • barbecue sauce


  1. Grill burgers to preference
  2. When burgers are just about finished, top with pineapple, then the ham and provolone.
  3. Place in bun and top with barbecue sauce.

Blackberry Brandy Salmon submitted by Realtime Captioner Carol Epperley:


  • salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry brandy
  • 2 tablespoons of butter


  1. Place each salmon filet in aluminum foil.
  2. Add brown sugar, blackberry brandy and butter.
  3. Fold aluminum foil and place on grill.
  4. Grill for about 20 minutes until flaky.


Red, White and Blue Cookies submitted by Offline Captioner Sarah McPartland:


  • 1 box of red velvet cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • white chocolate chips
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Blue food coloring


  1. Melt butter, soften cream cheese and blend together. Then add egg.
  2. Blend cake mix and vanilla extract and add to butter and cream cheese mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.
  4. Bake a dozen at 325 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  5. When cooled, add blue food coloring to cream cheese frosting and top cookie with thin layer.

2013 Cuyahoga County Fair First Prize Pink Lemonade Pie submitted by Realtime Captioner Jane Proud:


  • 1 Pillsbury Pet-Ritz frozen pie crust
  • 1 8 ounce tub whipped topping, reserving some for decoration
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • powdered pink lemonade mix
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg yolk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • red food coloring


  1. Bake Pet-Ritz pie crust as per directions on package.
  2. Combine whipped topping and sour cream. Stir in powdered pink lemonade to taste (about 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup). Spoon mixture into baked pie crust, spread smooth and refrigerate.
  3. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add in a little of the water and stir to form a paste. Slowly stir in remaining water.
  4. Whisk in egg yolk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in fruit juice. Stir in 1 drop of red food color.
  6. While mixture is still warm, gently pour it over the top of the pie, letting it spread to the edges. Refrigerate 1-2 hours and pipe whipped topping around edges or place a spoonful in the center for decoration.


A Horse of a Different Spelling

Posted on: 6/11/2015 2:03:44 PM under News 



When American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 last week, he made history in more ways than one. In addition to becoming the most famous horse in the world, he also changed the closed captioning of one particular word forever: "Pharaoh."

It was a popular news story when it first broke: how American Pharoah's owners misspelled "Pharaoh," on some official paperwork. There was an internet contest held to name the horse, and allegedly, the winning entrant was the one that spelled the name incorrectly. There's some controversy surrounding the mistake, but regardless, the horse will forever be known as American Pharoah.

Since the horse has most likely reached Secretariat's fame level, he will be referred to in the media for years to come. Our realtime captioners now must be extra careful when they phonetically write "Pharaoh," (ancient Egyptian ruler, SNL cast member) or "Pharoah" (prize-winning horse) on their steno machines!

The combo will be added to every captioner's list of homonyms requiring different keystroke combinations: hear/here, they're/there/their, and Smith/Smyth. (There are a lot of NHL players with both names!) This will probably be a staple of sports captioning dictionaries for a very long time.

Our offline department is also affected by the spelling error! Any treatment sheet they create for programs referring to horse racing must always include American Pharoah.

Not only was the incorrect spelling trending on social media, but it was certainly "trending" here at VITAC as well! One seemingly tiny mistake has made a pretty big impact, at least when it comes to captioning!



Updated VITAC IP/Web Captioning Page

Posted on: 6/3/2015 4:57:27 PM under News 

Mandates for IP and web captioning have changed, so we updated our IP/Web Captioning Service page on our website to reflect this!

Along with realtime and offline solutions for Internet Protocol-(IP) delivered programming, we've now included our captioning solutions for IP-delivered clips of programs that originally aired on television. Clips on platforms such as YouTube will soon be required by the FCC to be captioned, so you can stay ahead of the game by contacting us for details.           

Be sure to also check out our brand new IP Captioning Overview webpage. Here you'll find important effective dates for the FCC regulations and important terms so you'll know exactly which rules to follow. You can also click here for a printable summary.



VITAC Offers Realtime Solution for Adobe Connect

Posted on: 5/28/2015 4:22:15 PM under News 

Adobe Connect has fast become one of the more popular online meeting, webinar and presentation platforms for businesses. Some of its features include audio and video conferencing, meeting recording, screen sharing, chat function, and polling.

If your company utilizes Adobe Connect for its information sharing, VITAC offers a realtime captioning solution for webinars and online meetings.

We also offer realtime captioning for other platforms such as WebEx, Google Hangout, and Sony Foundry, and more.

Interested in captioning for your webinars and online business meetings? We can help you determine the solution that will make your live webcast accessible to your entire audience. Contact us today!



VITAC Behind the Scenes: Realtime Scheduler Kelly Zrimsek

Posted on: 5/22/2015 9:26:27 AM under News 

   What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We've started a new series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Our last post focused on Client Sales and Services Representative Christi Dean.

This week, we continue with one of our Realtime Schedule Administrators. The Realtime Scheduling department is responsible for assigning realtime captioners to every single hour of realtime programming daily, (over 220,000 hours a year!) among a lot of of other responsibilities! Realtime Schedule Administrator Kelly Zrimsek gave us the scoop on her day-to-day tasks at VITAC.

Q: You're a valuable member of our Realtime Scheduling team. Walk us through a typical day for you in the office.

Kelly: A typical day in the life of a Scheduler can be hectic. Scheduling is responsible for covering all of the realtime shows for VITAC - hundreds of hours per day of captioning. We also build and manage RC (Realtime Captioner) schedules. At this point, we have almost 150 captioners. Our small department is depended upon not just to get shows covered that have been scheduled ahead of time, but also for any RC emergency call-offs and adds of additional programming. Someone always has to be available to contact in our department 24/7. So the typical day can be hectic, but the level is just reliant upon the time of year and what's going on in the world.

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts of your job?

Kelly: I would say almost every part of my job can have its challenging moments. This ranges anywhere from breaking news, where our department goes into "spazz" mode momentarily, all the way to "picks," (assigning captioners to programming) where it becomes difficult to focus after completing hundreds of pages every week.

Q: What do you like most about working at VITAC?

Kelly: My favorite part about VITAC is the people. Over the years that I've worked here, they have become like a second family to me.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Kelly: I often spend most of my spare time playing video games. I have also started back into arts and crafts as well.



Updated VITAC Spanish Solutions Webpage

Posted on: 5/15/2015 9:01:46 AM under News 


                                       An example of realtime Spanish captioning on Fox Deportes

Does your project require Spanish captioning, subtitling, or translation? VITAC offers many solutions for both realtime and prerecorded Spanish-language programming. We've updated our Spanish services webpage to include all of them!

If your program airs live and the master audio is in Spanish, our Spanish-language captioner listens to an audio line and creates the captions in realtime.

If your live program's audio is in English, but requires Spanish captions, a translator listens and translates for our captioner in realtime. We also provide this service for Spanish audio programming requiring English captions.

VITAC can also provide live English and Spanish captions simultaneously for the same program utilizing the CC1 and CC3 caption fields. Both languages can be routed to a single stream to one encoder or to multiple encoders.

For prerecorded programming, our Spanish captioners can create captions and/or subtitles for you from the master audio in any language.

And now, VITAC offers Spanish Audio Dubbing, often referred to as Secondary Audio Programming or SAP. We create a Spanish audio track for English-language programming using professional narrators. The track then is mixed, mastered and timed with the video. Viewers can choose when watching between the English and Spanish audio.

For more details, visit our new, improved, and updated Spanish services page, or contact us.



VITAC Behind the Scenes: Client Sales and Services Representative Christi Dean

Posted on: 5/8/2015 9:09:45 AM under News 


                           CSS Representative Christi Dean pausing from her work to pose for a quick photo! 

What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We're starting a new series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! Last week, we featured Senior Offline Captioner Kiley Gold. 

We continue this week with one of our Client Sales and Services Representatives. The Client Sales and Services (CSS) Department is essential for keeping VITAC running day-to-day. CSS representatives are responsible for sales, coordinating operations between the company and hundreds of clients, booking caption sessions, and providing customer support. Client Sales and Services Representative, Christi Dean gave us some insight about her career with VITAC and her daily encounters. 

Q: You are a valuable member of our Client Sales and Services team. Walk us through a typical day for you in the office.

Christi: There is no "typical" day in CSS because we deal with a variety of issues and have a lot of different tasks. But normally, I work through the emails from the night before and early morning to see what urgent matters need to be attended to. Once all the fires have been put out, I then work through my daily stack of purchase orders. One of my tasks is to see which purchase orders we already have so our finance team can properly bill the client, or to find out if I need to request a purchase order from the client. This is all while fielding multiple phone calls and answering any other emails that may come in.

Q: What is your favorite aspect about working in CSS?

Christi: It's never a dull day. There's always something happening in CSS and it's helped me grow and learn a lot. 

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts about your job?

Christi: I used to be a Production Coordinator in the Realtime Department. Coming from Realtime and learning everything about our Offline Department and our Multi-Language Department has been challenging.

Q: What do you like most about working at VITAC?

Christi: Definitely my co-workers. In addition, I've had the opportunity to grow within the company and work for multiple departments.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at work?

Christi: Outside of work, you can find me taking my dog, Josi for hikes, running through my neighborhood and parks, binge-viewing my favorite TV shows, and enjoying happy hours with friends whenever I can. 



VITAC Behind the Scenes: Offline Captioner Kiley Gold

Posted on: 5/1/2015 2:03:45 PM under News 

   What goes on at VITAC behind the scenes? We're starting a new series focusing on the people that keep the captions on the screen and the business up and running! We begin with Senior Offline Captioner Kiley Gold, who answered a few questions about her VITAC experience.

Q: Can you walk us through a normal day at VITAC for you as an offline captioner?

Kiley: I clock in, open my scheduler to see what I have to work on and in what priority. In one day, I can work on anything from any genre. I could caption a car show, an alien conspiracy show, and then a cooking show in that order, and every day is like that.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts about the job?

Kiley: Actually, what I just mentioned above - the diversity of the projects I work on. I think it keeps me on my toes and it keeps me interested in what I'm doing. I tend to be super enthusiastic about projects and then end up never finishing them. But that really hasn't been a factor with my work here because I get to work on something different everyday.

My co-workers are also fantastic.

Q: What are some of the most challenging parts of the job?

Kiley: Speed. It can be intimidating. Although, since I'm an offline captioner, it's nothing compared to what the realtime folks are doing. I have mad respect for them. I don't think it's something I could ever do. Taste. It's inevitable that you will get shows that you don't really care for. But just because you don't like a particular show doesn't mean it doesn't deserve 100% of your effort.

Q: You're a senior captioner. What advice would you give to offline captioners just starting out or to anyone that wants to become an offline captioner?

Kiley:  Feedback is there to help you.

Use your reference guides! They are massive sources of information and can really help.
Always ask questions and don't feel bad about it.

Q: What are some of your favorite types of programs to work on?

Kiley: Anything on Discovery SCI Channel, any super natural-based or sci-fi programming, cartoons and British series. If it's a cartoon, British, or a murder mystery, I probably like it.

Q: What do you do in your spare time not spent at VITAC?

Kiley: Most recently, I've been taking ballroom dancing. It's way more fun than I thought it would be. I do a fair amount of video gaming. (most recently World of Warcraft.) I also dabble in graphic design, painting, drawing, and sewing. I play the clarinet, too, but I haven't found a band to join around here! 



Fan Captions Playoff Hockey: An Interview with RC and NY Ranger fan, Suzanne Prince

Posted on: 4/24/2015 9:14:05 AM under News 

It's almost time for the second round of the NHL playoffs, and some of the games couldn't have been any more exciting. VITAC is right in the midst of the action, captioning the games live on NBC, NBC SportsNet, Root Sports Pittsburgh, and MSG during the quest for Stanley.

One of our MVP Realtime Captioners, Suzanne Prince, is enjoying captioning the games even more than most, as she's a New York Rangers fan. The Rangers are up 3-1 games in their series against VITAC headquarters' favorite, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Suzanne gave us some inside scoop on captioning, her fandom, and how the two can combine.

Q: You're a New York Rangers fan. How excited are you that they're in and doing well in the playoffs?

Suzanne: I am ecstatic the Rangers are doing well in the playoffs. So glad to have our "king" back in between the pipes, even though Talbot played out of his mind during Hank's time on IR.

Q: You've captioned some of the NHL playoffs. What are some of your pre-game warm-ups?

Suzanne: I always use the rosters from each team's website, check the "news" tabs to see if there have been any changes made to the rosters that might not reflect, (call-ups, [from the minor leagues] injuries) and make sure I have all the coaches' names as well as management/owners' names. I also make sure I get the names of refs and linesmen because there's a good chance the announcers will mention them.

Q: If you're captioning a Rangers game, is it hard to stay focused on what you're writing?

Suzanne: It's not hard to stay focused because I understand the gravity of staying focused in this job. But I do get loud in my office when they score!

Q: Do any of the Penguins fans in the Canonsburg office give you a hard time?

Suzanne: The only Pens fan who gives me grief is [senior production coordinator] Ted Gilliland. However, he seems to have gone into hiding since this series started.

You can catch our captions on game 5 of the Rangers/Penguins series on NBC Sports, or regionally on Root Sports Pittsburgh or MSG Network at 7:00 PM EST.

By Brittany Bender

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