Word Level Synchronization

Traditional captioning presents the viewer with the caption text one phrase at a time. Even though each caption phrase contains several words, it typically represents just three to five seconds of audio — this means that your caption file typically has a time codes every three to five second. It is this requirement for so many time codes that makes captioning such a tedious and difficult task. Now, imagine producing a time-code for every single word in your media file. Most words have a duration of less than half a second — that is a lot of time codes for your typical media file! If it weren’t for AST, the difficulty of accurately producing time codes at this level of resolution would make word-level synchronization cost-prohibitive. But AST makes word-level synchronization a breeze — AST provides a variety of word-level output types that allow you to experiment with your media and break new ground.

Example of word-level synchronization

Example of a children story with word-level synchronization

Applications for Word-Level Synchronization

Word-level synchronization allows the content publisher to very closely tie the text presentation to the audio presentation of the media. Content publishers have used this technique for several applications, including:

  • Presentation of stories to emergent readers to assist with more rapid reading learning.
  • Presentation of language learning content to facilitate more rapid language assimilation.
  • Supplementary text presentation to assist ESL (English as a Second Language) viewers in accessing and comprehending the material.
  • Music and concert presentations where the lyrics and timing are not always clear for the viewer.
  • Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) is a word-level synchronization technique that is used for ESL assistance, speed-reading training, and emergent reader training.
  • Accommodations for dyslexia and some types of learning disabilities.

Examples of Word-Level Synchronization

Screen shot of Fin Reeder Application

Screenshot from Fin Reeder

While only a few industry leaders have content with word-level synchronization, there is still a healthy collection of interesting examples.

Accessing Word-Level Outputs

Today, AST produces word-level synchronization outputs for the QuickTime player. Several output formats are available, including:

  • QuickTime karaoke format
  • QuickTime word-level highlighting, in which text is presented one phrase at a time and each word is highlighted as it is spoken
  • QuickTime word-level revealing, in which text is presented one phase at a time and the phrase is painted (or revealed) as it is spoken

View our list of output formats to see the complete list of available formats. If you do not see what you need, just let us know — we will be happy to work with you to create what you need.