With over 7,000 languages spoken around the world, the first ones that spring to mind would probably be the obvious: English, Spanish, or Chinese. However, there is a very important group of languages that may go unforgotten: sign languages.
Later this month, on the 23rd September, the International Day of Sign Languages will raise awareness of the importance of these languages, protecting the linguistic identity of all their users. According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide, using more than 300 different sign languages.
The International Day of Sign Languages plays a key role in highlighting the importance of communications, media, and consumable content in general being open to all, regardless of ability. This got us thinking about the other ways in which accessibility should be considered in day-to-day life to ensure that society is as inclusive as possible.
When it comes to your business and its online presence, here at Matinée we offer a range of services to help you ensure that what you’re putting out to the world is as inclusive and accessible as it can be.
Why is accessibility important?
Put simply, access to information and communications technologies (e.g. the internet) is a basic human right. Ensuring that your online content is appropriate for those with diverse abilities is essential.
Not only does this provide equal opportunities for your audience, but accessible design can have a huge impact on the overall user experience and satisfaction when it comes to your business, helping to enhance your brand and widen your market reach.
Ultimately, by making sure that your web presence is accessible, you will be helping ensure that people with disabilities can participate more actively in society. Doing this could (and should) include things like adding closed captions to your video content, which not only allows deaf and hard of hearing viewers to enjoy your video, but also means users can still access your content when they’re somewhere they can’t play audio.
Research has also found that video views increase by 12% when captions are included, showing that the benefits of creating accessible content don’t just stop at inclusivity, but also can have a positive impact on user engagement.
How can Matinée help?
Okay, so you know the what and the why when it comes to accessibility, but what about the how? Well, that’s where we come in.
You’d be forgiven for thinking subtitles and closed captions were the same thing, but, despite their equal importance, they do serve different functions. Subtitles are most commonly used for translating the audio of a video for audiences of another language, where the source audio stays the same, but a written translation is offered on screen.
Closed captions, on the other hand, are typically used for hearing impaired audiences, as the on-screen text offers more description, outlining tone and pitch changes, and non-vocal audio that’s relevant to the story.
Both these services play a vital role in ensuring that no one is excluded from your brand, and there are definitely benefits to including both with your video, instead of choosing between the two.
Now you’ve considered the needs of hearing-impaired users, what about those who are visually impaired? Well, that’s where audio description is key.
In short, an audio description track gives context to visual information to benefit audiences who may be partially sighted or blind. Audio description offers an additional commentary that explains on-screen action that otherwise would be lost, including body language, facial expressions, and movements.
Adding an audio description track to your video content helps ensure that what you’re communicating is made clear solely through sound, without having to rely on visuals. It goes without saying that this is invaluable to consumers who are visually impaired, ensuring that they can still enjoy video content, despite physical ability.
Taking the next steps in accessibility
From the person you see in the corner of your TV screen signing, to the subtitles on the latest social media video you watched, it’s clear to see that steps are being taken to ensure that digital media is accessible for all.
When it comes to your business and ensuring what you put out there is inclusive, our team here at Matinée can help you. Instead of seeing accessibility as a tick-box exercise, where you simply go through the motions, looking at your business’s accessibility could be a great opportunity for you to really evaluate how users access and interact with your content.
As pointed out in this post, considering the needs of your audience when creating digital content won’t only help make the web a more equal place for those with accessibility needs, but can also help improve your user experience and satisfaction, maximising the effect your content can have.
Our team at Matinée has over 30 years’ experience of providing professional subtitles and closed captions for a whole range of video content, from explainers, to social media ads, offering an affordable, knowledgeable service with a quick turnaround time.
When it comes to audio description, our experience in the voiceover industry means we are true experts. We have an impressive roster of voice talent for you to pick from, helping to ensure that you select the right voice to bring your audio description track to life.
Whatever your needs are when it comes to making your business the most accessible it can be, we’ll no doubt be able to help you. Why not get in touch with us today to find out more?
Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934
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