7 of my favourite deaf awareness initiatives for 2017

18 05 2017

woman hiding her mouth

How Deaf Awareness Week is breaking down barriers

It is Deaf Awareness Week in the UK, May 15 to 21, and in the theme of celebrating collaborative work, I want to share with you some of my favourite 2017 awareness initiatives. There were many to choose from, but the ones mentioned below touched my heart.

The purpose of this week is to share knowledge around the fact that 1 in 6 people in the UK is deaf or hard of hearing. It’s important to know how you can communicate with us and include us in everyday life. This week is dedicated to highlighting how you can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Spreading awareness aims to improve peoples’ understanding of deafness, hopefully leading to better support and accessibility.

Even though there is no ‘typical’ deaf or hard of hearing person, you should be aware of the possibility that a deaf person might join your seminar, workshop or eat lunch at your restaurant. Are you aware of our needs? Have you made it easy for us to communicate with you and join the conversation? If not, I hope this year’s awareness week inspires you to make changes.

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The pain and the pleasure of captioning telephone calls

3 04 2017

captioning telephone calls

Is captioning telephone calls necessary?

Today, it’s difficult to imagine not having a telephone or a mobile phone. On this day in 1973, the first mobile phone call was made in New York. The Motorola mobile phone used was bigger than a brick. It was 9 by 5 inches and weighed over 2 pounds. The talk time on this phone was only 30 minutes, and it took 10 hours to recharge.

Today, the smallest mobile phones will fit on your key fob. Technology has moved fast in 44 years. The top smartphones offer a glittering array of features such as iris and fingerprint scanning. Packing in more and more features, the top phones are getting bigger – often at the cost of a shorter battery life – and can cost as much as a cheap car.

With all these advances in technology, you’d think one group of people who can’t use the phone would be well served: deaf people. Mobile phones have been a boon for deaf people as they can now send text messages and use Whatsapp. But when a deaf person needs to interact with a hearing person, it suddenly becomes a different ballgame. There are 70 million deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide who have difficulty using telephones. Say hello to captioning telephone services.

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Bad lip reading jobs

29 03 2017

bad lip reading in chamonix

Do bad lip reading experiences exist?

I often get asked “What is forensic lip reading?”.

When a lip reader is lip reading, they are usually doing this in real life, face to face, watching a person’s lips, facial expressions, eyes, gestures, body language, and using context to clue themselves into the topic, so that they can understand another person. Many factors affect the lip readability of a person so the outcome is never a perfect translation. If enough of the factors affecting lip reading are present in a meaningful enough way, it all comes together beautifully to make sense to the skilled lip reader.

Forensic lip reading (or speech reading) is the simple transition of the skill of lip reading from real life to media, lip reading CCTV or video clips. Reading lips in 2D is much harder than reading lips in real life 3D because so many clues are missing. This makes for a bad lip reading experience for the lip reader. So many people assume, just because our lip readers can read lips, we can lip read anything you send us. We get so many videos that are #FAILs when we see them. So how can we make this a better experience for the lip reader?

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How accurate is AI lip reading? A deaf perspective

22 03 2017

lip reading lips

How accurate is lip reading – AI vs. Professionals

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are again making a big splash in the news. This time with AI sinking its virtual teeth into lip reading. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK in collaboration with Google’s Deepmind has developed a system they claim can lip read more accurately than humans.

Lip reading has been one of the most prominent areas of research for the past decade. The main focus having been on overcoming the shortcomings in audio recognition in noisy environments.

Most recently, however, the focus is firmly planted on speech recognition algorithms and how such systems could help people who are deaf or hard of hearing have better access to television through accurate real-time subtitling.

I won’t lie to you when I first saw the news title ‘AI has beaten humans at lip reading’. I had to choke back a laugh.

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Communicating with deaf people using lipspeakers

17 03 2017

communicating with deaf people lipspeaker

Communicating with deaf people at conferences and workshops

To grow professionally and sharpen your skills you need to make an effort to explore new ways of working and learning. One of the best ways to do this to invest in yourself by frequently attending networking events and conferences. Effectively communicating with deaf people during such in-person seminars and workshops might seem difficult, but using a lipspeaker will provide equal opportunity.

Lipspeaking has been around since 1948, and a formal training programme was put in place in the 1960s. The Association of Lipspeakers is now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

A lipspeaker accompanies the deaf person, who can lipread, to an event and repeats what is said, enunciating clearly and without a voice, so the lipreader only needs to lipread one clear and trained speaker instead of several unclear speakers.

There is power in connecting with people who are active in your line of work and lipspeakers enable deaf people who lipread to share in that power.

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Would broadcast captioning benefit the Oscars?

1 03 2017

broadcast captioning at oscars

Celebrity reality: Broadcast captioning gives you the inside scoop

The Oscars took place this week, and by now you would have heard about the big blunder. The wrong winner was announced! Shocking, I know.

Who knew the wrong word on a piece of paper, or in this case the wrong piece of paper, could have such a devastating effect. It makes you realise just how important the correct text for such live events really is.

Now, imagine millions of deaf and hard of hearing viewers tuning into these events only to find the captions to be misleading, confusing and just a general pain in the butt.

That’s how many of us experience watching televised programmes that make use of “smart technology”. Voice recognition software and respeaking have resulted in the quality of TV subtitling going down.

The only way to rectify this is for broadcasters to use superior captioning that’s accurate and produced by highly qualified people. We are entitled to the same access as hearing people.

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Train to be a velotype captioner

31 10 2015

Are you interested in training as a velotype captioner?

Come to 121 Captions’ assessment day and find out if this is for you!

velotype

Velotype

Using the Velotype system, you can write up to 200 words per minute using a specially adapted keyboard, with free annual software upgrades. The software is available for Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux. The keyboard can be used for over 30 languages.

 

Velotype Academy

The training is free. The course can be downloaded and interactive. Learning the basics only takes a few months. Training to get to a high speed can take between 7 months and 2 years, depending on how much time you invest in the training.

velotype keyboard

 

Assessment Day

Date: 30 November 2015 9AM

Venue: PC Werth, Audiology House, 45 Nightingale Lane, London SW12 8SP

Cost: Free. Donations are welcome.

This event is led by

  • Wim Gerbecks – Velotype
  • Sander Pasveer – Velotype
  • Tina Lannin – 121 Captions

The event aims to give you an opportunity to:

  • Meet the Velotype training team
  • Try out the Velotype keyboard
  • Assess your ability to be a velotypist
  • Check out remote live captioning platforms

You will be able to find out about

  • Velotype Academy
  • Working remotely : Q&A session
  • 121 training: Remote working & deaf awareness
  • 1Fuzion remote captioning system

There will also be a short training session on Text on Top, an on-site wireless captioning system.

text on top

Booking your place

You will need to book your place for this event. Places are limited – book now!  To book, contact bookings@121captions.com  or call 020 8012 8170.

When you book, please confirm if you already have a Veloboard and if you are already working as an Electronic Notetaker.

velotype-academy-strokes-EN

Further information

Velotype Academy

How the veloboard works

Veloboard including costs and languages

VeloNote text editor software

Text on Top

121 Captions training courses

 

Venue

PC Werth, Audiology House, 45 Nightingale Lane, London SW12 8SP

PC Werth London