"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If You Caption, They Will Come

(Links on what is CC and how to caption are below the post)

Some people erringly think that all Deaf people know ASL. What they don't know is that many were denied the use of Sign Language because others in care of them when they were young were told by "experts" that deaf and hard of hearing children should learn to read lips and speak only. Not everyone is able to learn to do this.  Lip reading is difficult, so many words look the same on the lips. We miss important information. Some people have ASL or a variation of ASL. Like English, ASL has many sign variations depending on where you are from. There are some regions that have dialects not recognized by others. In rare cases, they may need an interpreter for their interpreter. However, there is another option we can add. Total communication involves every feasible means of communication available.  Reading lips and Sign Language together is "total communication". Add captions to the equation and you have the best case scenario of communicating information.

With technological advances today, we have options we never had before. We have Real Time Captioning and Closed Caption tools available, yet so many businesses/organizations just won't take time to find out what this is or how to use it. Many movie theaters are starting to take notice and are adding this feature for the citizens in their communities, even some churches have discovered the wonderful benefits of captioning their services for their attendees.

With the Baby Boomer generation now heading toward the geriatric generation, hearing loss is a fact of life. We have more deaf and hearing impaired people than ever before. This population is going to continue to grow as we live longer. We pay taxes, we vote, we do business. However, we prefer to put our time and money into places and organizations that acknowledge us and welcome us. If you ignore us, we'll go somewhere else, and you can be sure people will know exactly why we prefer one place over another. We'll either talk about it, blog or tweet. In the area I currently live, there are over 4,000 deaf and hard of hearing people of all ages...that we know of. That's a lot of clients and business revenue that is vastly overlooked or ignored.

Hearing aids aren't always the answer, just as Sign Language isn't always the answer. We live in an age where we can have "Total Communication" and wonderful captioning programs, and yet, we're still not taking full advantage of these tools. Why not? Information, communication, people and relationships are worth investing in. If you caption, they will come.

*Want to know more about Captioning? Visit these sites:

Caption Labs: http://www.captionlabs.com/ 

Universal Studios:  http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/

Collaborative for Communication Access Via Captioning: http://www.ccacaptioning.org/

Captionfish: (Movies)  http://www.captionfish.com/


  1. I struggled for years regarding what modus woul dbe best for me to approach. I decided lip-reading was the best option,even at 30% effective it was 70% more useful than sign language.

    Please take the reposne in context. (1) There is noavenue about mydaily life where I could use sign language on anyergualr basis to communicate. (2) To maximise any sign language you HAVE to be in the deaf community, as neither options are available,perhaps it makes sense to equip deaf people with more alternatives than just sign, if only, so they can work. In the debates about communication NO-ONE takes reality into account and how the deaf adult or child is going to function in a hearing world using a means hearing do not. It is practicality not dogma that drives most of us. Culture would be nice many don't have the luxury of any access to it, without that BSL would isolate me more....

  2. Thanks for stopping by and posting, MM. We all have different needs, and finding what works best is key. You know yourself and your situation to know what works best for you. A lot of newly deaf people are still learning that for themselves.

    Some of us need all the resources available. I attend meetings where CART is available, which is wonderful because they caption even the questions the audience members ask, and the screen is set up right next to the person speaking. Of course, we always sit right in front so we can "see to hear" as well. They also have someone who is willing to sign, if need be, but we've all found the captions to meet our needs perfectly well.

    I like being able to read what is said, and I'm so glad we have theaters nearby that have this available, now, too. My tv is set up for CC as well.

    More and more options are becoming available to help our needs every day. I love that about technology.

  3. Hi there
    I am looking into captioning in theatre here in Belfast, Northern Ireland. When you go to theatre, is there usually a choice of captioned shows? And do you know if the theatres have their own captioner or do they hire someone? And whoever it is are they 'professionally' trained. I am interested to find out about experiences in other countries.


    1. Hi, Brenda,

      Thank you for reading and asking about how this works. From what I understand, the motion picture industry now does all the captioning of their films. It is a matter of many theaters selecting the option for the captions to show on their screen, similar to setting up the Closed Caption on our tv sets.

      Here is a page that goes into a lot more detail: http://assistivetechnology.about.com/od/ATCAT8/f/What-Is-Closed-Captioning.htm

      Here is a link to a theater chain that offers that in the U.S. with the most information I've seen yet: http://www.regmovies.com/nowshowing/opencaptionedshowtimes.aspx

      There is also a very handy gadget that is placed into cup holders on the armrests of new theaters http://ncam.wgbh.org/mopix/people.html

      Thank you for asking these questions, Brenda. I'm sure many others are wondering the same thing.

      Have a great weekend!

  4. I am saddened to even have to mention this: My blog is not a place to incite hatred against "groups of people". There are aggregate websites available where you can publish such comments. Neither will comments with derogatory terms, flame or disrespect toward others be published. All comments are moderated before publishing.

  5. I'd like to know more about how to go about getting services captioned. That would be wonderful. We have one deaf lady who comes to church (and my son-in-law is very HOH, but doesn't like to admit it).
    They rely on me for interpreting, which isn't fair at all to my deaf friend- I am a lousy interpreter, can barely carry on a conversation. She kindly helps me learn the new vocabulary!

    Captioning services would be helpful for all of us.

    1. I'm sure you do great, and your friend and son-in-law are fortunate to have you help how ever you can.

      There are several options available. If it is just your friend and son-in-law, you can use a computer and type what is being said in large print (sitting between them), and if there are others, you can also use a screen a projector. I've been in meeting where we had this (Real Time Captioning on a budget) and that works.

      There are professional services as well, but here is a page with more information: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/articles?386

      Here is a professional site that may have some suggestions as well: http://www.archivereporting.com/?gclid=CIbRnJ6f264CFYNo4Aod-jDJaA

      Thanks for chiming in, Headmistress. :-)