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What’s the [bleep] deal with improperly censored captions?

Posted by Anna on January 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm. Captioning, Consumer Advisory Board
In order to create the captions, we receive a reference video from the producers of the program, usually before it airs for the very first time, and our captioners type what they hear. However, TV shows are distributed to a variety of different places nowadays, such as TV syndication, DVD, and streaming services. Shows are often edited after the first airing for different distribution methods. Sometimes the length changes, sometimes the content does. And on many networks, there are different profanity rules for the very same show depending on what time it airs. For instance, some words have to be bleeped out when a show airs at 8:00 but can be left in when it’s on after midnight. In those cases, producers generally have us caption the most restrictive version–the one with the most “bleeps”–to be on the safe side, because it would be time- and cost-prohibitive to create three separate masters for different airings of the same episode.
While we create the captions, they don’t belong to us, and once they leave our hands we don’t control where and how the CC files are used.  So hopefully this explanation helps clear up how this type of discrepancy can occur. I swear we mean no offense to the deaf community or other caption users.

Recently we have received some comments about instances where captions were censored where the audio was not. Please be assured that we here at CaptionMax can appreciate some salty talk with the best of them, and we never take it upon ourselves to censor language. Our employees and our advisory board feel that the whole point of captions is to accurately reflect the audio in order to level the playing field for people with different hearing and language capabilities.

In order to create the captions, we receive a reference video from the producers of the program, usually before it airs for the very first time, and our captioners type what they hear. However, TV shows are distributed to a variety of different places nowadays, such as TV syndication, DVD, and streaming services. Shows are often edited after the first airing for different distribution methods. Sometimes the length changes, sometimes the content does. And on many networks, there are different profanity rules for the very same show depending on what time it airs. For instance, some words have to be bleeped out when a show airs at 8:00 but can be left in when it’s on after midnight. In those cases, producers generally have us caption the most restrictive version–the one with the most “bleeps”–to be on the safe side, because it would be time- and cost-prohibitive to create three separate masters for different airings of the same episode.

While we create the captions, they don’t belong to us, and once they leave our hands we don’t control where and how the CC files are used.  So hopefully this explanation helps clear up how this type of discrepancy can occur. I swear we mean no offense to the deaf community or other caption users.

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