The immediate shift to virtual events in 2020 forever changed how organizers imagine event design—changes that will impact conferences and events long after the world returns to face-to-face meetings.

Event planners had to adapt, evolve, learn new skills, and become experts on using event technology to bring people together, even if only virtually. It was a year full of dread, but it also resulted in unprecedented innovation, key learnings, and unexpected surprises.

One of these surprises was the explosion in virtual event attendance, clearly a direct result of removing tangible barriers to entry, such as travel, lodging, and cost. Throughout 2020, many event organizers were stunned to see their first-ever virtual events surpass all-time attendance records. But removing these barriers opens up a new set of challenges: Communicating with a global attendee base, where a single event often includes multiple languages and nationalities.

At Socio, we passionately believe organizers should strive to make events accessible and inclusive for everyone—regardless of location, language, or how they consume content—and that’s why we’re thrilled to introduce multi-language closed captions for Socio’s Web App.

Socio’s closed captions allow event organizers to diversify engagement and reach more attendees who experience hearing impairment, people who prefer to follow text versus listening to audio, attendees who need to mute audio during the event, and those who would benefit from reading captions in a different language.

Launch Closed Captions for Every Live Stream or Session

Event organizers who use Socio Streaming or Socio’s RTMP Player now have the option to activate closed captions within each individual session. 

The Socio platform integrates with closed captioning providers like SyncWords, which utilizes real-time, human-generated captions instead of AI-generated captions to deliver a seamless translation. 

The closed captioning provider sends a widget code that the event organizer pastes into the event management platform to enable the captioning functionality. Each specific session can have one base language for the speakers, but the organizer can include closed captioning in multiple languages for attendees. During the live session, the organizer simply provides a link to the live captioners, who quickly translate the speech in real time.

Organizers also have the option to change the color of the captions button to match their branding, while attendees can easily toggle captions on or off at any point during the session.

In many cases, the event organizer likely knows which languages to include in their closed caption offerings. For larger global events, the organizer can include language preference as a required question during the registration process, or send out a pre-event survey to poll participants on their language needs.

Closed captions are just one of the many ways Socio makes events accessible for all. In 2020,  Socio announced compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which equip the Socio platform with upgraded accessibility features to assist people with motor impairments, visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, and other challenges. Socio platform users can toggle between accessibility profiles, and manually make design, readability, and UI adjustments to best serve their individual needs. 

Live Translation Enhances Accuracy, Speed

Because the Socio platform utilizes human-generated captions, event organizers can anticipate near-perfect accuracy, and a faster turnaround than using AI-generated captions. In fact, a study found human-generated captions were 99% accurate within 3 to 5 seconds versus 90% for AI-generated captions.

Sure, 90% accuracy might seem sufficient, but that means attendees who rely on closed captions would potentially miss one in 10 words. It creates a considerable barrier when amplified across an hour-long virtual session.

AI optimizes and enhances many facets of daily life, but our robotic friends still struggle to accurately decode natural human language, especially when it comes to technical jargon. Because of these limitations, live television programs routinely employ human-generated closed captions.

Making Future Events Accessible to All

Virtual and hybrid events opened up a new frontier for organizers and planners alike, bringing audiences together like never before. But removing these barriers also presents a new responsibility for the global event community—ensuring attendees can actively engage with event content, regardless of location, ethnicity, or physical disability.

To see how Socio can make your next event experience inclusive and accessible for all attendees, reach out to schedule a personalized demo.