How can one make livecasts on the Web more accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing? This have perhaps been an almost impossible task. And/or extremely expensive. Today we can demonstrate that it might not be as challenging as only a year ago. This week we produced a live stream from a seminar (in Swedish) and added both live captions and sign language interpretations.

[Update: see also more recent documentation on


Embedded below is a 10 minute clip with the live produced sign language interpreters and recorded closed captions (cut from the full presentation in Swedish) can be watched at  Warning! You might get confused from the relation in time between what I say and what you see (video/text/signs). This is an effect from a live demonstration of the livecasts that is the demonstration. and somewhat delayed due to the way video streaming works.

It is worth noting that the original livestream was produced live on location in Trollhättan, Sweden. For this we used VidBlaster as the video production tool and Bambuser as the streaming service. The sign language interpreters worked at Tolkcentralen Örebro, about 200 kilometers away. And the subtitlers worked at Svensk Medietext, in Stockholm more than 400 km away from Trollhättan.

The video embeded above is a clip from the 60 minute presentation I did about how we did what we did. This presentation was a part of a full day seminar about Web development in the public sector ( programme in Swedish). The organizers will soon publish similar videos from all the presentations at the seminar.

Afterwards I simply cut out the clip from the local recording of the production made in Örebro. That is, the video file which contained our stream from Trollhättan and their sign interpreters imposed in the video. The subtitles /captions added live in Stockholm were produced and recorded with capblaster, the application we used to feed text into the production. (An excellent and more feature rich, but costlier alternative, is Subply).  Afterwords I made a handful of text corrections, and re-synced the timings using Subtitle workshop. Then I used Google Translate to translate the Swedish sutitles into English. I had to spend about 30 minutes fixing the worst translation errors. I then uploaded the video clip to our accounts at Vimeo and YouTube. Finally I added the text files to the clip on YouTube, as well as Universal subtitles.

Many warm thanks to The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) who ordered this livecast, and have supported the development of tools and services we used.