A Letter for your Toolbox: How to ask for transcripts and subtitles
A while back, I talked about how to make your blog more accessible, and brought up the issues of transcription.
Transcription is damned hard work to do properly, which leaves a lot of people in bind. It’s time consuming, it can be difficult, it can cause pain, and this doesn’t even get into stuff like how some people with disabilities just can’t provide transcriptions, for whatever reasons.
So, what do we do with content like that, especially now that things like vlogs and videos are becoming more and more a part of the blogosphere?
I think this is something we need to spread around a lot more.
Often, people who create vlogs will have a script they are working with. I suspect that many of them could be talked into doing stuff like providing a transcript or even including subtitles for their videos. But the difficult thing is, how do we ask? How do we suggest that they do more?
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of letters, and have written a few in my life. I know what the big challenging bit of letter-writing can be: where do you start?
So, here is something I’ve drafted up. I’ve sent it once so far, so I can’t tell you what the success rate is, but feel free to use it, adapt it to your purposes, and send it along to people who’s vlog content you would like to see have a transcription and/or subtitling.
Personalise it to your heart’s content, and ignore/add things as you see fit, and don’t fret about crediting me in any way.
It’s a tool in our toolbox to encourage wider web-accessibility. The more uses we get out of it, the better!
My name is [Anna], and I’m a big fan of your vlogs/videos [Here I listed two videos I really liked].
I would like to link them [on my blog, www.disabledfeminsts.com], but I have some difficulties.
I’m a proponent of increased web accessibility for people with a variety of disabilities. Part of this means including transcriptions of video content when I link things. This is so that people with a variety of needs, such as people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, have auditory processing disorders, or have other disabilities which make watching video content difficult, can still get the content of the video. It is also useful for people who are not native English speakers, and people who, for whatever reason, cannot have the speakers of their computers turned on. Providing transcriptions allows all sorts of people the opportunity to get the content from your videos who might otherwise not be able to.
I think your blogs/videos are great, but whenever I want to link them, I have to make a decision: Do I have the time/energy to transcribe this video so that everyone can get the content? If I don’t, do I link it anyway, and hope someone else will come along and provide a transcript for me? Or is it just easier over all to not link your videos?
Obviously, your videos are very popular, and you’re not hurting for viewers because I don’t link them on my site. But I do think you’re missing an opportunity to have even more people access your content.
I suspect that you script your videos in advance. Would it be possible for you to provide a transcript on your YouTube page, or in your blog, for new videos? As well, YouTube allows you to upload captioning on video content. They provide information on how to do that here: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=100077
I know that creating video content is time-consuming, and I really respect the work you’ve done. Providing a transcript and subtitling would be a great way of allowing more people to access your content, which would be win-win for everyone.
Thank you for your time!
If you have success with a version of this letter, let me know!