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Language Accessibility for Online Events: Live Theater With Spf.io

Nov 2, 2020 | Blog, Stories

As online gatherings become more popular due to the challenges of COVID-19, event coordinators are finding unique solutions to replace in-person experiences. The things we enjoy together are harder to do: meeting friends from different cities, seeing a show with our extended family, or getting out the vote for the presidential election with a group of friends. Instead, we are seeing each other through remote meeting applications like GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Zoom. Although we may feel far apart with these technologies, new tools like Zoom language translation can actually bring us closer together.

Making digital events welcoming and inclusive can be a challenge! It is especially difficult when the event requires Zoom translation services for multiple broadcasts. However, The Voting Project found success with spf.io’s high-quality live subtitles for their online play, Carla’s Quince.

Carla’s Quince was a virtual experience designed specifically to get the vote out for Latinx communities. Audience members were invited to meet Carla and her family through a multilingual Zoom theater performance full of music, dancing, and laughter. Participants were given important information about how to vote, and a follow-up Q&A session discussed topics like how to get a mail-in ballot or how to get a ballot in Spanish.


Using live subtitles: success with translating Zoom captions

Instead of streaming an online movie with subtitles through Amazon or Netflix, viewers were able to watch actors during an actual play. You might be wondering, “how did they get an interpreter for every live Zoom performance?” The answer: they didn’t! With spf.io’s unique AI-assisted features, they used the play’s script to release live translated captions during the play.

The ability to provide translation in Spanish was critical to the play’s mission of being a fully bilingual online event. As a community project, finding an affordable zoom translation service was important for its success. Spf.io was the best accessible captioning option for the play for the following reasons:

  • it was easy to use
  • it allowed a staff member to control and release simultaneous captions during the performance
  • it provided a personalized experience for the audience


So, how does Zoom translation with captioning work?

Spf.io can operate automatic real-time translation using an autopilot feature. However, with a script available, the quality and timing of the translated captions are greatly improved. When possible, the use of a script results in a smooth and enjoyable experience for a multilingual audience. During Carla’s Quince, one of the play’s staff members was responsible for acting as a “controller.” Their role was to release the translated lines as they were delivered by the actors. This way, the play had control of the timing of the Spanish translation.

Zoom translation for community meetings and theater

Since the play chose to maintain control over the caption timing, their Spanish-speaking audience felt comfortable watching a play that was spoken in English. Instead of having to hire interpreters for repeat performances, which may have challenged their budget, they could do the translation work once up front. Modern-day theater during COVID-19 becomes much more accessible when using Zoom translation by spf.io!



Helping communities with live translation for online events

Spf.io is committed to helping communities expand their online presence through accessible, multilingual events. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the arts community has faced financial and social challenges in their efforts to persist through this crisis. With cutting-edge technologies like spf.io, these communities have a way to survive and thrive.

“Spf.io…was by far the most financially accessible translation/captioning service we found, and we really appreciate the personalized and friendly attention and care taken with our project.”

– Stefanía, Director of Carla’s Quince

By providing synchronized translation and captioning for live events, spf.io allows communities and organizations to reach a broader audience. If you want to make your event multilingual and accessible, learn about the possibilities with spf.io by watching a demo today!

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