This, however, is about to change.
Audible, Amazon’s audiobook company, says it had plans to release captions for audiobooks.
Soon, Audible customers will receive access to captions on any audiobook they choose. In addition to the captions, they’ll be able to highlight words, and look up definitions and language translations. All this will be able to be done through the Audible app.
This caption feature, which is expected to be released in an upgrade that is in time for school to start, was originally released to benefit students.
“We know from years and years of work, that parents and educators, in particular, understand that an audio experience of well-composed words is really important in developing learners,” says Audible Chief Executive Donald Katz in the Los Angeles Times.
However, while this feature was created with students in mind, it will largely benefit the deaf community too. Until this point, the deaf and hard of hearing community have not had any access to audiobooks.
Deaf actor and activist, Nyle DiMarco, recently posted a sarcastic tweet about the issue on Twitter.
hey im bored at the airport what’s the best audiobook to keep me occupied?
— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) July 31, 2019
This feature, however, would open up new doors to accessibility.
As technology advances, accessibility is slowly starting to increase. Google, Amazon, Skype and Microsoft have been making efforts to be more accessible. Google, Skype, and Microsoft also offer live captioning.
Amazon’s Alexa even allows people to type out their commands or questions. It also has transcripts that are available.
With audiobooks checked off the accessibility transformation, the deaf community is still waiting on podcasts to be more accessible. While some podcasts offer transcripts, it is not as widespread as it could be.
What do you think? How can we made audio books and podcasts more accessible? Would you use captions for audiobooks?