Adding captioning to your conference not makes your content accessible to those who are deaf and hard of hearing, it can also help all of your attendees to better understand and retain the content being presented. But successfully captioning a large event can be difficult. Here are a few tips we've picked up over the years:
- Good preparation.
Get hold of the schedule well in advance, with the exact start and finish times, breaks, and set up times that work for the audio-visual team. Be sure to get a copy of all the Powerpoint slides for the stenographers to scan, a link to the event url, and names of all the presenters. If there is an award ceremony, obtain a list of names of all the winners and runners up – your captioner wants to spell everyone’s name correctly.
- Check the audio.
Schedule a sound check with the stenographer a few days before the event starts. Make sure the microphones work and test them. Ensure the stenographer has back up and emergency phone number.
- Check the internet set up.
We always recommend hard wired cable internet, not wifi. If more than 200 people are following the captions via the remote link, sufficient capacity needs to be made on the server to accommodate this – so let the captioning admin team know.
- Test the captions.
In the venue, have the stenographer write a few sentences during the sound check, and make sure you have a font size, colour, type, and background colour you are happy with on your large screen.
Make sure that everyone is on the same page by ensuring good communications between all of the players: the admin team, stenographers, conference event organizers, audio-visual technicians, and translators work together as a team to make real-time captioning work well.