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Multimedia captioning

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Multimedia files that include speech, such as online movies, webcasts, or Flash animations should be captioned to provide a non-auditory means to access the information (a Section 508 standard). Captioning and/or sign language can be provided for users who are deaf or hard of hearing, but it is difficult to provide this after the fact -- it should instead be part of the original software or multimedia design.

There are two ways to provide captioning: Closed Captioning (CC), which is text made visible only at the discretion of the viewer; and Open Captioning (OC), which always remains visible for all viewers. There are a variety of tools available to include captioning within the design of multimedia. Recent versions of Flash have a feature to allow the insertion of open captions directly into an animation. Multimedia Access Generator (MAGpie) software developed by the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) allows developers to add closed captions to most multimedia files that can be played by Apple Quick Time, Windows Media Player, or Real Player.

Sign language interpretation has recently become an option as video processing on computers has become quicker. Signing Avatars can also be included in software. However, one challenge of presenting information via sign language is that not all individuals use the same form of sign language.