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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HLAA Convention 2015

28 06 2015

We attended the HLAA convention in St Louis and we had such fun! It was great to see many old friends again and catch up on our amazing cyborg-ness.

The photo shows the Japanese delegation, I was so pleased to be able to practice my Japanese.  今日は!

Japanese delegation

One of them kept asking why Jacob had to raise money for his cochlear implants when CI recipients have insurance in the US. In Japan, the national health care system, like the UK, completely funds cochlear implants.

One of the guys in the photo is a jazz musician. He’s looking for any other jazz musician CI recipients to connect with – do leave a comment and contact link if you know of anyone or you’re a jazz musician yourself.

Every workshop at the event was captioned – which is fantastic. In Japan, they are not so fortunate with access for deaf people. Japan has turned to digital broadcasting, depending on the late night programming and region, but there are often no closed captions, and the DVDs and BluRays for Japanese movies and animation, as well as internet broadcasts are rarely closed captioned.

There are few places where Japanese films are screened with Japanese closed captions, and those screenings usually happen within a couple of days, and in many cases are only screened once. Film making in Japan often has a low budget and tight timeline, so low budget late-night broadcasting and UHF stations are rarely closed captioned. Since it costs television stations money to close caption broadcasts, they use a legal loophole. In order to escape having to add captions in any case, they will broadcast late at night or on UHF stations. And of course the country is pretending not to see this.

The process of closed captioning has been kept hidden from the country’s inhabitants, and in order for the majority of the society to be kept out of the know, they are not putting effort into developing people capable of providing captioning services. Broadcast and cable television stations are more likely to have closed captions. There is a small number of Japanese captioners working for the deaf.

The country, media, NPOs and even organizations who work with disabled people won’t consider requests for closed captioning and won’t do anything about it. The younger generation in Japan have an openly disablist attitude. However there are both disabled and non-disabled people working towards life for disabled people to become a little more enjoyable.

HLAA delegates and USA inhabitants, count yourselves very fortunate!