Three Ways to Make Your Content More Accessible
While more businesses and nonprofits look to technology to address accessibility requirements, many still crave the connection of working with humans, and that’s where Studio 120—a subsidiary of Plymouth-based The ADS Group—comes in.
Studio 120 partners with experts in the field, alongside innovative technologies, to help local and national businesses ensure all of their content is sensible, meaningful, and useful for as many people as possible. Accessibility in your brand strategy is no longer a quota-filling exercise—it’s critical to the success and future of your business and organization.
“If you’re going to spend the time, energy, effort, and money on making content, make it accessible to everyone,” says Eric Benedict, business development manager.
ASL Translation and Video Production
For more than a decade, Studio 120 has partnered with deaf interpreters to offer American Sign Language (ASL) translation and video production services for companies that specialize in student-assessment testing across the nation, including NWEA and Data Recognition Corporation.
“It’s important that we make sure that the question is clear to each one of those students and that they have the opportunity to understand it, to do well on the test,” says video engineer David Bell.
One in five Minnesotans has some degree of hearing loss, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. ASL translations, which often appear in a smaller box in the corner of a video, are critical for almost any type of content, from internal communications and trainings to marketing materials and external-facing projects.
“Closed captioning is not preferred by everyone,” says Tracy ReiderBower, business development. “Deaf people who grow up using American Sign Language only learn English as a second language. Therefore, it is vital to communicate with the deaf community in their native language of ASL, which allows greater expressive fluency.”
Overall, ASL translation is a growing industry, with the employment of ASL translators and interpreters projected to grow 20 percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the number of adults with hearing impairments is expected to double in the next 40 years. “Studio 120 is one of fewer than five companies that offer ASL video production across the nation.,” ReiderBower says.
Subtitles and Closed Captioning
In addition to their robust ASL translation offerings, Studio 120 can subtitle any video project—past, current, or future. These offerings aim to create equal access for people with hearing impairments or auditory processing disorders, who rely on captions to fully understand a video’s message. An added bonus: captions increase video view time by about 12 percent, according to Facebook, and that includes users who aren’t deaf or hard of hearing.
Add to that, Verizon Media reports that about 60 percent of users watch videos on mobile devices with the sound off, making subtitles an important addition to every video project.
Unlike automatic closed-captioning options, Studio 120’s subtitling services are accurate and precise. Employing a human touch avoids the blunders of auto-captions, including incorrect pronunciations and janky formatting.
Minnesotans speak dozens of languages, which is why considering language accessibility is critical for every video project. Language barriers can lead to a lack of access to information, training, and workplace development, which can cause inefficiencies and poor collaboration.
Translating content is especially critical in fields such as health care and law, where information needs to be conveyed and understood clearly for the health and wellbeing of the individual.
Of its multi-language translation services for both print and video projects, Benedict says, “There’s no language that [Studio 120] can’t do.”
Human Voice Audio (HVA) Production
While artificial intelligence can create synthetic voice transcriptions (what we refer to as “text-to-speech”), human voices better convey emotion, punctuation, tone, and characterization. Human-voice audio production also helps those with visual impairments have access to information.
Synthetic voices often stumble over pronunciation, punctuation, and unfamiliar terminology, which can negatively impact listeners who rely on those voices to comprehend information. Though Studio 120 primarily uses human-voice audio for student assessment purposes, ReiderBower says it’s truly applicable to any number of industries.
“As a company, we’re very proud of having this offering,” ReiderBower says. “We’re glad that we can make that impact.”
The impact? Every marketer’s dream: humans connecting with humans.
The ADS Group is a Plymouth-based, full-service media development and distribution company. Their subsidiary companies Studio 120, Advanced Duplication Services, and Copycats Media make media simple with everything you need to bring your brand to the next level, all under one roof.