Closed Captioning Now Available in English and Translations Available in Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic
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WEYMOUTH — School Committee Chair Lisa Belmarsh and Superintendent Jennifer Curtis-Whipple are pleased to announce that Weymouth Public Schools has partnered with the Weymouth Educational Telecommunications Corporation (WETC) to implement a closed captioning and translation pilot program for all future school committee meeting recordings.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in connection with the work by the Return to School Racial Equity Subcommittee, School Committee meetings will provide closed captioning in English for School Committee meetings for deaf and hard of hearing and a translation of the meeting in Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic within 24 hours of the meeting, with the hope that more community members can receive and understand information being shared by the district.
“It’s essential that parents and guardians receive information from the district so that they can help their children get the right technology, support their child’s school work, have the ability to make informed choices and get the support they need for a successful school year,” said School Committee Chair Lisa Belmarsh. “To accomplish this, the district identified an increased need to have the information translated so that parents and guardians who do not speak English can access the most current information being shared during our school committee meetings. WETC eagerly stepped up to the request and is an essential partner in this endeavor to make information available to more people within our community.”
WETC had previously offered closed captioning services on local municipal meetings that were recorded and posted onto its website throughout the past year. It wasn’t until recently that WETC evaluated the possibility of translating the captions into additional languages.
“Once the School Committee and Administration voiced the need for a more inclusive way to broadcast and share meetings, WETC wanted to assist in any way possible,” said WETC Director Jeff Cummings. “We are extremely excited to see the positive impact that this pilot program will have on ensuring everyone in the district receives the information they need to succeed.”
The pilot program has the ability to translate the district’s school committee meetings into Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. Based on the district’s current enrollment, these languages are the top languages spoken, outside of English, throughout the Weymouth Public School system and are the most in-demand translations.
Meetings translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic will only be available on WETC’s On Demand video player, not on TV broadcast or when meetings are streaming live. The meetings are expected to be viewable On Demand with multi-language closed captioning in under 24 hours.
To create closed captioning on the recordings, WETC uses its video server company, Telvue. The Telvue server processes the audio file and the computer then generates the text for the captioning in English. Once the captioning is created in English, the server then transcribes the English captions into the three additional languages. The Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic translations may be delayed as the English captions are processed first. Therefore, community members may only see the English captions at first while the other languages are processing in the background.
Additionally, Telvue also offers an English transcript of the recording. The transcript can be found in the lower, right hand corner of the video player.
“In the time of COVID-19, the process of disseminating information to the public in a timely and equitable fashion is as important as ever,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “To ensure that our students stay up-to-date with important information and understand our new safety protocols, we must be able to share these details with all of our demographics regardless of what language barrier they may have. Adding Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic translations allows us to be more inclusive for non-English speaking, deaf and hard of hearing communities.”
To view the previous two school committee meetings with closed captioning, visit WETC’s video player here: http://www.weymouth.tv/.