Frequently Asked Questions

What is captioning?

Captioning is the representation of a text version of spoken words and sounds typically available on television, online, as well as within education settings. Captions can be displayed in a variety of ways. In the case of broadcast captions, these are normally displayed at the bottom of the video and can be positioned and coloured to indicate which characters are speaking.

What are the benefits of captioning?

Captions are not only a fundamental tool in providing accessibility to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, they also have many benefits for all, especially those who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL), have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or learning difficulties.

Captions assist in improving comprehension skills in both listening and reading, recognition of words and vocabulary acquisition, as well as providing an additional method of communicating content.

What is closed captioning?

Closed captioning (called subtitling in the UK) is the most widely used type of captioning. It gives viewers the option to view captions that are carried with the broadcast signal and the viewer is required to switch the captions on or off. This is done by “opening” the closed captions at the point of viewing. Our captions can be seen across dozens of television channels on both free-to-air and subscription TV. As well as authoring our own original captions, we retime and reformat thousands of hours of captions acquired from our international suppliers and clients to reduce costs and increase the amount of accessible content. Media that has closed captioning available is commonly identified in program guides and on DVD/video covers by the closed captioning [CC] symbol.

Find out more by visiting our Captioning page.

Closed captioning symbol

What are open captions?

Sometimes it’s important for everyone to receive the message. Open captions are on display for everyone to see and are a permanent fixture on a video. It is also known as ‘burned in’ or ‘hardcoded’ captioning. We deliver open captions in a variety of fonts and styles – great for public places or events – and even YouTube channels. Subtitled foreign films are an example of open captioning.

open captioning symbol

What is live captioning?

Live captions are transmitted for live TV programs such as news and current affairs, sports coverage and program finals. Live captions can be created by typing, stenocaptioning or respeaking. Live captions are prepared at the time of broadcast.

What is offline captioning?

Offline captions are prepared in advance of a program’s broadcast or, in the case of home video, corporate training tapes, etc before the duplication of tapes. The offline captioning technique allows for the most accurate captioning available, as the captioning can be quality controlled and checked before it airs. Captions can be positioned and coloured to allow easier speaker identification. Sound effects that are crucial to the plot (for example, doors slamming, phones ringing) are included as well.

What is stenocaptioning?

Stenocaptioning is a method of creating live captions or transcripts that involves the use of a shorthand machine or stenotype. A stenographer will press multiple keys which each represent phonetic sounds in order to create captions at high speed. The methodology of how a stenocaptioner creates words from phonetic sounds is quite similar to how a pianist would create chords by playing multiple keys on a piano. Stenography has been used widely for courtroom reporting, to accurately and efficiently capture spoken word content.


What are verbatim captions?

Verbatim captions are delivering word for word what is being said.

What is respeaking?

Respeaking relies on voice recognition software. Respeakers must train their dictionaries in the voice recognition software to recognise the words that they will need. Respeaking is a process whereby captioners listen to the audio feed of live events then repeat the speech into their voice recognition software, and include all relevant punctuation. The voice recognition software then generates the captions.

Respeaker in action

How do I view closed captioning on Foxtel?

Foxtel remote control indicating set up button

  1. Press the ‘setup’ button on your remote control
  2. Select ‘closed captions’
  3. Use the arrows to switch the setting to ‘on’
  4. Press ‘back’ to exit

How to set closed captioning as default on Foxtel?

  1. Press the ‘active’ button on your remote control
  2. Select ‘setup’
  3. Select ‘advanced settings’
  4. Select ‘picture settings’
  5. Select ‘captions & banner settings’
  6. Highlight ‘closed captions’ and select ‘on’
  7. Select ‘save new settings’. Press ‘back’ to exit.

How to find closed captioning programs on Foxtel?

Programs that have closed captions are identified by the symbol [CC]. This will appear next to the title in your on-screen TV guide, mobile Foxtel guide app, online TV guide or Foxtel magazine.

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a file, or document, that accurately represents the content of the Ai-Live session that has been captioned. It can be used as notes or a record of the event.

Find out more by visiting our Transcription page.

Transcripts: Verbatim vs Ai-Live

Verbatim transcripts captures all spoken content word-for-word to provide a complete record of spoken word in a video or audio clip. We also create transcripts using our live captioning methodology utilising our re-speakers and stenographers to create transcripts from video and audio clips. Ai-Live transcription allows us to provide transcripts with a much faster turnaround whilst maintaining an accuracy level of 98% and providing a more cost effective method of capturing spoken word content.

What is Ai-Live?

Ai-Live Logo

Ai-Live is an inclusive live captioning service, providing accurate, real time, speech-to-text of spoken word content in a range of situations, such as in the workplace, at conferences, in schools and in universities.

Find out more by visiting ai-live.com.

How does Ai-Live work?

To enable Ai-Live captioning, an audio feed is taken from a room a sent to our offsite captioners via one of a range of audio solutions. The captioners then create captions live, through either respeaking or stenography, and stream these captions back to the viewer via the internet, providing speech-to-text within seconds.

Graph displaying how Ai-Live works

What types of captions are available on Ai-Live?

We currently offer two types of captions:

  1. Full Text captions that aim to capture all the meaningful words that are spoken; and
  2. Simple Text captions that deliver a single idea in a single sentence. To deliver these our captioners remove metaphor and  figurative language, as well as breaking down complex instructions into a single instruction in a single sentence. Simple Text  is especially useful for students with autism (or ASD) who have audio processing issues. It can reduce the anxiety caused by trying to process too much information. Students for whom English is an additional language also benefit from simplified captions to support access to lesson content.

How do I become an Ai-Live user?

Simply register your details on our website and we’ll be in touch with you to setup your account. Click here to join now.

Which devices can I use with Ai-Live?

Ai-Live is accessible by any web-enabled device such as your iPad, tablet or laptop.

What else is required?

Our captioners need to receive a clear audio signal which can be obtained a number of way including using a landline, mobile phone, conference phone, or Skype call over a wi-fi network.

Is Ai-Live an App? Do I have to download any software?

No, Ai-Live is not an App and no software is required. All you need is a device that can access the Internet.

How do I obtain a transcript from my Ai-Live session?

You can order a transcript when you make your Ai-Live booking which become available within your Ai-Live member portal within 24 hours.

Is the content from my sessions kept confidential?

Yes. Our captioning staff are bound by confidentiality provisions in respect of information gained through the provision of the Ai-Live service.

How do I see the captions?

There are three ways that you can join your session or view your captions. You can also ask your web browser to remember your login details so you don’t need to enter them each time.

  1. User log-in: go to https://ai-live.com, click on “Sign in”, enter username and password, then click on the active session (highlighted in green) under “Quick Join”.
  2. Session ID: go to https://ai-live.com, click on “Join My Session”, enter session ID for the active session.
  3. Basic link: we can send you a link created for the active session which opens a new web browser for you to view your captions.

How much does Ai-Live cost?

For more information about our pricing, please contact info@ai-live.com or call our office on +61 2 8870 7777

What is Visible Classroom?

The Visible Classroom project is a partnership between Ai-Media and the University of Melbourne using live speech-to-text captioning to increase engagement with students and support teachers to reflect critically on their practice. Captions are streamed directly to tablets or an interactive whiteboard so that pupils have a second chance at picking up classroom content. Transcripts of the lessons are available at the end of the class allowing the teacher to review exactly what was said in the lesson and to reflect on this for future lessons.

Find out more by visiting our Visible Classroom page.

How does Visible Classroom work?

After setting up Ai-Live captioning for your classroom, Ai-Live, through the use of various “tracking tags” can determine various key indicators of teaching, such as words per minute, the number and types of questions asked, and the breakdown of class time between teacher dialogue and working time. These key indicators, as well as the transcript of each session, are provided to the teacher following a lesson, allowing teachers to review their teaching style and making their class visible.

What is audio description?

Audio Description (AD) refers to an additional narration track consumers of visual media who have low vision or are blind. It consists of a narrator talking through the presentation, describing what is happening on the screen during pauses in the audio, and sometimes during dialogue if deemed necessary.

Find out more by visiting our Audio Description page.

audio description symbol

What is the difference between standard and extended audio description?

Standard audio description involves the addition of description in the natural pauses of the video to provide visual context to a viewer with low vision. Extended audio description involves the editing of a video, pausing at certain frames to add description, which in turn “extends” the video length.

What is ATW?

Access to Work (ATW) can help pay for support to access services such as Ai-Live and purchase work related modifications. The aim is to help improve work productivity for people with a disability, health or mental health condition.

Access to Work

Who can apply for ATW assistance?

Individuals with a disability or health condition in England, Scotland or Wales who are over the age of 16 and are either about to start a job or work trial, or are in paid or self-employed work.

How do I apply for ATW assistance?

You can get more information on ATW, including how to apply, at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/overview.

What is DSA?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) provides financial support for students with a disability, learning difficulty or long-term health or mental health condition, and can be used to provide access to tools such as Ai-Live.

Disabled Students' Allowance

Who can apply for DSA assistance?

DSA support is available to higher education students living in England who have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia.

How do I apply for DSA assistance?

You can get more information on DSA, including how to apply, at https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/overview.

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