The popular voice-based app Clubhouse has finally acted on its glaring lack of accessibility. It has introduced closed captions for iOS users.
Accessibility on Clubhouse
In a world where live audio is becoming increasingly routine, social networking apps have taken their sweet time rolling out accessibility features. The trend seems to be that the product hits the market first. Access is considered afterwards.
Earlier this year, we reported on the dissent among deaf and hard of hearing users regarding Clubhouse’s obvious lack of inclusivity. The app’s over-the-top policy against transcriptions of chat rooms meant that most of us felt ignored. We were unable to access the benefits of audio-based networking.
“The app’s over-the-top policy against transcriptions of chat rooms meant that most of us felt ignored.”
It’s a relief then, to read Clubhouse’s recent announcement that it is rolling out a closed captioning feature on iOS. Hopefully, it won’t be a long wait for Android users.
According to TechCrunch, the 13 languages currently supported include: English, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Turkish. There are plans to add more soon, according to the announcement. Some users have pointed out glitches in non-English language detection. These teething issues are expected to fade out along the way.
The March to Inclusivity on Social Media
Clubhouse was by no means the first to face criticism over lack of accessibility. Twitter went through the same when it “forgot” to caption its audio tweet feature. It was only a few months ago that Twitter Spaces followed with transcriptions. The same goes for TikTok and Instagram. TikTok introduced auto-captions in April this year. Instagram did the same in September 2020.
Clubhouse is among the last of app heavyweights to finally pay attention to the missing words. The “social audio app” has been shedding its cumbersome exclusivity in spurts. It began as an invite-and-iOS-only – and might we add, abled-only – app. This worked in its favor in terms of attracting funds.
Over time though, thankfully, it has not only shed its elite waitlist and embraced Android. In September this year, Clubhouse also rolled out Replay. This is the option for app’s users to record the chats taking place in audio rooms. It’s about time we had live transcriptions!
Mineli is an India-based writer with unilateral hearing loss and multilateral appreciation for all things silent. She’s a content writer by the day and a poet by night, and whenever there’s a moment free between the two, she takes off to the nearest forest for a quiet chat with the birds.
When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. These cookies ensure basic functionalities and security features of the website, anonymously.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.