DigitalChalk Partners with IBM to Automate Closed Captioning for Video Training

DigitalChalk Partners with IBM to Automate Closed Captioning for Video Training

Editor: Here’s more good news in the captioned video arena. Digital Chalk and IBM are teaming to provide an automated transcription service!

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In a first for user generated video content, DigitalChalk will begin offering an automatic Closed Captioning service to training professionals when they upload video.

DigitalChalk, a learning delivery platform serving independent training professionals and University instructors, announced today that they have reached an agreement with Hunter College in joint cooperation with IBM’s research labs to produce the first ever automated transcription service for video based online learning.

Subscribers using DigitalChalk to publish training content online currently have the option to upload any standard format of video files and have them automatically trans-coded into a Flash Video. This new transcription service will automatically pass the audio portion of the video file through a speech-to-text transcription service provided by IBM. The outcome is a 92-97% accurate transcript that is linked to the online training lesson with the associated video.

DigitalChalk will include the transcript text in their online lesson editor, called the Chalkboard, in a unified display that includes the rendered Flash Video, Slide Editor and Chapter Editor. Instructors will have the flexibility to correct any remaining errors as well as nudge the captioning display time to optimize synchronous display with the video.

“This is the first of many steps DigitalChalk will be taking to bring better accessibility to the online video training marketplace,” said Russell Stinehour, CEO of Infinity Learning Solutions (ILS), parent company of DigitalChalk. “Our commitment to bring full accessibility to our user-generated content platform is a big challenge. Having the commitment of partners like IBM help us realize the first step in that goal.” Stinehour, who himself has had a life-long visual disability, has set the next goal to provide better accessibility for the visually impaired. “We think this transcription service has further implications in optimizing and tagging content within videos for easy-of-use by visually impaired students as well,” says Stinehour.

The transcription service will be available in limited beta beginning in late June with a targeted release date of September 2008. Tony McCune, ILS VP of Sales, declined to offer pricing for the enhanced service but stated that it should offer a substantial savings over manual transcription methods.

DigitalChalk will begin accepting beta customers for the Captioning release in June and anticipates having preliminary costs available at that time.

The project was initially requested by Hunter College, a part of City University of New York, to provide a higher level of accessibility for continuing education courses being offered on DigitalChalk.