Captioning Compliance: 5 Key Tips to Meet Legal Standards

How Do I Ensure Captioning Complies with Accessibility Laws and Regulations?

Ensuring accessibility for all individuals, including those with disabilities, is not just a moral imperative but a legal requirement. Among the crucial aspects of accessibility is captioning, which ensures that audio content is accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, meeting captioning compliance standards can be complex, involving various laws, regulations, and international standards.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of captioning for compliance, addressing common questions such as:


  • What are the key captioning laws and regulations that organisations need to adhere to?
  • How do international standards impact captioning compliance?
  • What steps can organisations take to ensure their captioning services meet compliance needs?

5 Key Captioning Compliance Tips

  1. Stay informed about local laws and regulations, such as those outlined by the FCC and ADA, to ensure compliance with captioning requirements.
  2. Familiarise yourself with international standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to ensure broader accessibility compliance.
  3. Invest in captioning services that prioritise accuracy and quality to meet compliance needs effectively.
  4. Tailor captioning solutions to accommodate different disability needs, including variations in language, speed, and format.
  5. Regularly update captions to reflect changes in laws and regulations, ensuring ongoing compliance with accessibility standards.

Accessibility Compliance Key Actions

#1 Local Laws and Regulations

Explore key captioning laws and regulations at the national and local levels, including mandates set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Compliance with captioning laws and regulations is not a one-size-fits-all situation; it requires a nuanced understanding of both national and local mandates. At the national level, entities in the United States must adhere to regulations set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The FCC mandates that certain television programs and video content distributed online include closed captioning to ensure accessibility for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Similarly, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including communication access.

However, compliance extends beyond federal regulations, as many states and local jurisdictions have their own captioning requirements. For example, some states have laws that require closed captioning in public accommodations or on public transportation systems. It’s imperative for organisations to stay informed about these varying regulations and ensure that their captioning practices align with both national and local mandates. Failure to comply with these laws not only poses legal risks but also excludes individuals with disabilities from accessing essential information and services.

#2 International Standards and Their Impact

Discuss how international standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), influence captioning compliance and accessibility efforts on a global scale.

International standards play a crucial role in shaping captioning compliance efforts on a global scale. One such standard is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG provides a set of guidelines for making web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities, including recommendations for captioning multimedia content. Adhering to WCAG standards not only ensures compliance with international best practices but also enhances the overall accessibility of digital content for users worldwide.

Moreover, embracing international standards goes beyond mere compliance—it fosters inclusivity and equal access to information for individuals regardless of geographical location. By adopting WCAG guidelines, organisations demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and ensure that their digital content reaches a broader audience. However, it’s essential to recognise that international standards may vary in their applicability and enforcement across different regions. Therefore, organisations must conduct thorough research and collaborate with experts to implement captioning practices that align with global accessibility standards while addressing unique regional considerations.

captioning laws

#3 Ensuring Captioning Services Meet Compliance Needs

Delve into strategies for selecting captioning services that prioritise compliance, accuracy, and quality, ensuring that organisations meet legal requirements effectively.

Selecting captioning services that prioritise compliance, accuracy, and quality is essential for organisations striving to meet legal requirements effectively. When choosing a captioning provider, organisations should consider several key factors to ensure their services align with compliance needs. Firstly, it’s crucial to verify that the captioning service complies with relevant regulations, such as those outlined by the FCC and ADA. This includes ensuring that the provider has experience in captioning content across various platforms and formats, from television broadcasts to online videos.

Additionally, organisations should prioritise accuracy and quality when selecting a captioning service. Accurate captions are not only vital for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing but also contribute to a positive user experience for all viewers. Organisations should inquire about the captioning provider’s quality control processes, such as human review and proofreading, to ensure the accuracy of captions.

Furthermore, selecting a provider that offers customisable captioning solutions allows organisations to tailor their services to meet specific compliance needs and accommodate diverse disability requirements. By partnering with a reputable captioning service that prioritises compliance, accuracy, and quality, organisations can ensure that their content remains accessible to all individuals while mitigating legal risks.

#4 Captioning for Different Disability Needs

Highlight the importance of tailoring captioning solutions to accommodate various disability needs, including considerations for individuals with different hearing abilities and language preferences.

Effective captioning goes beyond simply transcribing spoken words—it involves tailoring solutions to accommodate various disability needs and preferences. Individuals with different hearing abilities may require captions that vary in speed, accuracy, and format to ensure optimal comprehension. For example, individuals who are hard of hearing may benefit from captions that include speaker identification and sound effects to provide context and enhance understanding. Similarly, individuals with language preferences other than English may require captions in their preferred language to access content effectively.

Organisations should prioritise inclusivity by offering captioning solutions that cater to diverse disability needs and preferences. This may involve providing customisable captioning options, such as adjustable font sizes and colours, to accommodate individuals with visual impairments. Additionally, offering captions in multiple languages ensures accessibility for individuals with diverse linguistic backgrounds. By tailoring captioning solutions to accommodate various disability needs, organisations demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and ensure that all individuals can access and engage with their content effectively.

speech data ethics collection

#5 Regularly Updating Captions to Reflect New Laws

Emphasise the necessity of staying abreast of changes in captioning laws and regulations, and the importance of updating captions accordingly to maintain compliance.

Staying abreast of changes in captioning laws and regulations is essential for organisations to maintain compliance and ensure accessibility for all individuals. Laws and regulations surrounding captioning are dynamic and subject to updates and revisions over time. For instance, regulatory bodies like the FCC may introduce new requirements or modify existing ones to address emerging issues or improve accessibility standards. Similarly, international organisations may revise guidelines such as the WCAG to reflect advancements in technology and changes in societal norms.

To maintain compliance, organisations must establish processes for regularly updating captions to reflect new laws and regulations. This involves staying informed about legislative developments and promptly implementing any necessary changes to captioning practices. Additionally, organisations should conduct periodic reviews of their captioning workflows and technologies to ensure that they remain aligned with current standards and best practices. By prioritising ongoing updates and adaptations, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and avoid potential legal liabilities associated with non-compliance.

Captioning Regulations Feature

At Way With Words, we offer an advanced and customised captioning solution tailored to meet your specific needs and compliance requirements. Our captioning services ensure perfect accuracy and correct formats for use on various platforms, including video, YouTube, Vimeo, and more. Additionally, we provide human checks for any automated captions upon request, ensuring that all caption transcripts undergo thorough quality checks. Rest assured, our services are GDPR and fully data compliant, offering you peace of mind in meeting captioning compliance standards.

In conclusion, captioning compliance requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses legal obligations, international standards, and tailored solutions to meet diverse disability needs. By staying informed, investing in quality captioning services, and prioritising ongoing updates, organisations can ensure accessibility for all individuals while complying with relevant laws and regulations. Remember, accessibility is not just a legal requirement—it’s a fundamental aspect of inclusivity and equal access to information.

Accessibility Compliance Resources

Way With Words: Your ultimate solution for all your captioning needs and custom requirements. With Way With Words, you can rest assured that your captioning services will meet compliance standards while providing accurate and high-quality captions. Our experienced team ensures that captions are tailored to accommodate diverse disability needs and preferences, including variations in language and format. Additionally, we offer human checks for automated captions upon request, ensuring the utmost accuracy and quality for your content. Trust Way With Words for comprehensive captioning solutions that prioritise accessibility and compliance. Captioning Compliance: For detailed information on captioning requirements outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), visit Stay informed about legal obligations and regulations related to captioning accessibility, and ensure that your organisation remains compliant with federal mandates. provides valuable resources and guidance to help organisations navigate captioning compliance effectively, fostering inclusivity and accessibility for all individuals.