I believe today's topic will be all over the place, with the focus of the main topic - Captioning. There are several I want to cover: creating captions, viewing captions and availability of captions outside of the home. I will also mention the current laws that cover captioning on internet sites.
Let me give you a basic background on what Captioning is all about. It is a stream of words being written across a screen, whether it be a video posted on YouTube, a show or a movie on your television or translated from a speaker's presentation (spoken) to written word for the audience to see.
This technology is available for deaf and hard of hearing people, whether they are a signer or not. In fact this technology (in early 1970's) was created to aid them in the first place and naturally the technology crosses the cultural group into the mainstream. There are many who have found captioning to be their savior (and never really thanking the deaf community for the technology advancement) because they never realized that they had difficulty understanding their surroundings. Not only that, when sign language is translated on screen to spoken, it can be also seen in caption, it is a blessing! The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 paved the way for the captioning chip to be placed in televisions sized 13 inches and up, reducing the need for a decoder/captioning box popularly used in the 1980's.
We have a law currently in place called Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 that mandates coverage of captioning for any online videos, movies or shows that are created or reruns for online use and access. For instance the popular companies "Netflix", Hulu and various sources that show only online videos or reruns from previous videos/shows shown on television. Netflix is currently battling NAD on the captioning issue. Really, with the way technology is going today and in the last 10 years, captioning should have been on par with progress. I am fairly sure that the numero uno reason why captioning is a battlefield today is the cost rendered in providing those services.
Other sources of captioning that you can have available is at movie theaters as the picture to the right shows you. This was my first experience with 'rearview captioning' and to be honest with you, I am not a fan of it. Once I leave my seat, I miss out on the rest of the movie until I go back to my seat. With open captioned movies (captions burned on film), I was able to make sure I was in touch with the movie until I left and until I went back in the theater. My husband and I did experience an abrupt captioning cut off at the last 20 minutes of 'Madagascar 3'. We stayed to watch the rest because the movie was geared for our children. We understood the action and fortunately had probably about 50 minutes of captioning before the cut off, but again when we want to refer to the movie on different scenes we cannot confer ideas, discussions or be able to connect with our children because of that. Except for our favorite song "We Like to Move It" and various themes related.
Other forms of captioning available is telephone products such as "CapTEL" or Caption Call. There are apps that provide captioning while making a call from your cell phone. It allows you to be sure that you are not missing information while on the call. The app is popular with those who can speak and hear some to none, deaf or hard of hearing.
On a side note, as someone who develops videos for different events (video flyers) or similar, captioning is hard work. I can finish a video in one hour and it would take me 2 to 4 hours to caption the video. It is stressful. For those who think captioning spoken English is hard, try translating ASL into English and captioning that. I am more than considerate of those who do not know ASL or enough of it to give them the opportunity to follow what is being said. We deaf and hard of hearing people are not the only ones who need captioning. Do not be surprised if you find yourself on the same boat, only that you have 'perfect' hearing.
Below is a video talking about captioning and how critical it is. The date of mass media captioning issue has passed but the message is no less important.
To Be Whole
Currently I am an ASL teacher at a local college and at an high school. I received my Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. At home, I am an activist within the community, Northwest Indiana. My son is in first grade and my daughter goes to E.C.L.I.P.S.E. ASL Preschool. Change begins with you and change is effective with a team.