Attachment Q Information on Captioning












These symbols indicate that written captioning for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind is available. Captioning is a process of putting spoken words in a written format onto a screen, to provide communication access to deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind individuals. Various types of captioning include open, closed, real-time and off-line captions. They can be used in various situations, such as meetings, classrooms, television programs, and videotapes. Real-time and off-line captioning can be either open or closed.


international captioning symbols description



What are the different types of captioning?


Closed captions are shown on the television screen when specifically activated.


Open captions can appear on any screen without special equipment, but cannot be turned off.


Real-time captioning provides simultaneous transcription and is usually provided by trained courtroom reporters. Real-time captioning is often used for meetings and live events on television.


Off-line captioning is added before or after the production of a program or videotape. It is usually used for recorded shows, movies, and videotapes.


What equipment is necessary to view captioning?


Since July 1, 1993, all televisions with screens thirteen inches and larger, manufactured or imported for use in the United States, have been equipped with built-in decoder chips.  Televisions that do not have the chip can be hooked up to an external decoder so that closed-captions will show on the screen.  Open-captions do not require decoder equipment, and can be viewed on any television.


March 2008                 Attachment Q, Page 1
Disability and Communication Access Board


Where can I find captioned videotapes and shows?


Television program listings in the newspaper often indicate when a show is captioned.  The start of a program or movie will show “Closed-Captioned,” “CC” or a logo (represented above) so that the viewer knows the program is captioned.  Recreational and educational videotapes, such as those bought from retail stores or rented at video rental stores, indicate on the package that they are captioned.  A box with a short tail (for closed-captioning) or a box with the letters “CC” enclosed are some of the logos that have been used to indicate that the program, videotape, or event has captions.


Where can I get external decoder equipment to use with TVs that do not have chips?


Decoder devices can be ordered through local distributors or mail-order companies.  Contact the Disability and Communication Access Board for a list of companies.


Where can I find resources for captioning videos or meetings?


Contact the Disability and Communication Access Board for a list of providers and resources that includes real-time or off-line captioning services and information.


March 2008                 Attachment Q, Page 2
Disability and Communication Access Board