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Human vs. AI captions: What should you include in your next virtual event? 

April 17, 2024

While both human and AI captions offer distinct advantages, the right approach between the two is key to maximizing accessibility, quality, and cost-effectiveness for onsite, hybrid, and virtual events. Here is a closer look at both human-generated and AI captions and their impact on making onsite, hybrid, and virtual events accessible. 

What are human-generated captions? 

Human-generated captions involve a professional captioner who transcribes the audio in real time. The captioner can be onsite or at another location. The captions can be displayed on a screen in an onsite or hybrid event and can be streamed live using virtual streaming platforms. Performedia’s streaming platform can host a remote captioner live from anywhere in the world for hybrid and virtual events.

Pros of human-generated captions:

Human-generated captions are undoubtedly more accurate. Human captioners hold the potential to understand context, spot nuances in speech, and accurately capture the intended meaning. These captions come in handy when there is technical jargon, specialized vocabulary, or a complex subject matter. These captions boast a more personalized and nuanced experience because of the expertise and attention to detail of the human captioner. Human captioners are better equipped to understand the needs of their clients. 

Cons of human-generated captions:

Human-generated captions are more expensive than AI in the content captioning space. It is expensive, especially for events with multiple speakers or sessions. Moreover, human-generated captions also require advance scheduling and coordination with the captioning service provider. 

What are AI-generated captions? 

AI-generated captions make use of speech recognition technology to transcribe audio in real time using artificial intelligence systems. Many streaming platforms, like Performedia, offer AI-generated captions in multiple languages.

Multimedia player screenshot. Man speaking in a conference. Spanish captions are ON.

Pros of AI-generated captions: 

AI captions can be more cost-effective, especially for longer or multiple events. They can also be deployed faster and more easily than human captioning. AI-generated captions help make multilingual captions easy and cost-effective. Most streaming platforms offer multilingual captions automatically, which takes the planning and guesswork out of the equation by not being dependent on the availability of human captioners and budget constraints.

Cons of AI-generated captions: 

AI-generated captions can struggle with background noise, accents, or rapid speech. There might also be cases of missed nuances or misinterpreted context. As live captions are computer-generated, AI captions would require human proofreading. In short, even though one can automate live captions, there is always a need to proof pre-generated captions manually.


For highly technical or specialized content, human captioners may be necessary to ensure accuracy and comprehension. Organizations with limited budgets may opt for AI captions for cost-effectiveness, reserving human captioning for specialized content.