13 06 2011

I discovered a new start-up in the Middle East, called Mimix. Mimix’s aim is to translate speech to sign langage and to teach deaf and others sign language. What do you think of it?


How subtitles are made for TV

14 02 2011

Finally …. captions on ITV player!

27 01 2011


Today, ITV announced they are now subtitling online programming on ITV Player. This has been a very long time coming. They say subtitling is currently available for programmes such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street; however they will try to have subtitles available for 70% of catch-up content.

A task force has been created to drive forward and constantly review on-site accessibility and specifications. This is great news for accessibility – benefiting hard of hearing and deaf people, and those for whom English is not their first language.

I’m particularly pleased as I’ve just treated myself to a 50″ plasma TV … but I can’t tune it properly! Can’t figure out the wires either! So at the moment I’m receiving BBC1, BBC2, and BBC News. I checked out ITV Player on my laptop yesterday, only to discover it has no captions. At All. Grrr. So this is a welcome piece of news. I’ve just checked it out and, like the BBC iPlayer, you click on the S button in the bottom right corner to play the subtitles.

If you would like to have any information from ITV provided in a different format for accessbility reasons, you can contact ITV on 08448 814 150 or email itv.comsupport@itv.com and they will happily discuss your requirements and endeavour to provide you with suitable alternatives.

Photo: Billy 😉

Sports venue captioning – Done Right!

19 10 2010


Silicon Valley shows San Francisco Giants how to use a stadium intranet for profit

When I learned how the public address system captioning is done at Giants baseball games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, I was quite surprised at how advanced it really is. The system is called FanCaption, and it’s quite successful. It’s actually part of a free market solution, because it’s integrated into the FanConnex “Digital Dugout” stadium/arena intranet system, which provides for the fan experience so crucial for sports venue success. It’s a Free Market solution that just happens to have captioning for the hearing impaired.

Do you want to see a replay? How about the batting average of a player, or the speed of the last pitch? Perhaps a between-innings interview of a player or coach? Would you like a hot dog and coke, delivered right to your seat? How about a souvenir cap and jersey? Did one of the stadium photographers walking around snap your picture? Just a couple of touches on your mobile and the food, beverage, souvenir and photo products are delivered right to your seat, with no waiting in concession lines. And if you don’t have a mobile, there are several hundred iPod Touch units at each stadium to loan. Oh, and By The Way: If you have trouble hearing the PA announcements, just click on FanCaptions and there they are, delivered in a scrollable Twitter -style news feed.


Unlike standalone PA captioning schemes that stand alone, such as the four display signs around FedEx Field in Washington, DC that don’t really enhance the perceived value for normal hearing people, FanCaption is integrated into a system that is designed to generate concession revenue, with the captions “tagging along” for the free ride.

San Francisco’s AT&T Park was the first to roll out the “Digital Dugout” with FanCaptions in 2008, with technology partners AT&T, Apple and Cisco. The Milwaukee Brewers rolled out FanCaptions in June 2009; and this season the Oakland Athletics, across the Bay from San Fran, rolled out the system.

Baseball season is in the middle round of the playoffs, and San Francisco only has three more home games before it’s lights out until April. And because FanCaption is web based, anyone can see it in action Tuesday evening (UK time). Just go here to the Giants Digital Dugout where you can see the actual captions in progress for Tuesday night’s game starting at 9PM UK time (1PM Pacific). The 4th game of the series (schedule) is Wednesday 4:30PM Pacific (12:30AM UK), and the 5th game is Thursday 4:30PM Pacific (12:30AM UK)… And then it’s lights out until April 2011.

Sports franchises should take a look at this system, as it will provide profits as well as legal compliance for their venues. With even LFC just fetching £300 million, the pressure is on for teams to generate positive cash flow and produce profits.

Roll on, London Olympics 2012!



If you are interested in supplying a captioning service to your sports venue, contact O’Malley Communications in London or Mike at FanConnex in California.



Free private subtitled screening invite

4 06 2010

The Walt Disney Company and IMS would like to invite you to a private subtitled screening of ‘The Prince of Persia’, an adventure extravaganza starring Jake Gyllenhall and Gemma Arteton.

The free screening will take place on Monday 14th June at 10.30am, at the Apollo Cinema, Lower Regent Street, London SW1.

Coffee, tea and pastries will be served, and we hope that some of you will be able to stay behind for a chat about cinema subtitling & audio description afterwards. Some feedback about how it’s all working would be very useful.

First come, first served – seats are limited. Please contact Derek (subtitles@yourlocalcinema.com) stating your name to confirm attendance, or for any queries.


Free subtitled and audio described show: The Prince of Persia.
Date: Monday 14th June
Time: Arrival 10.00am for coffee, tea and pastries. Film starts at 10.30am. Film ends at 12.20.
Chat about cinema subtitling & audio description afterwards.

Address: Apollo Cinema, 19 Lower Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR.
Map (just to the left of Jermyn Street)

The cinema is located a short walk from many major bus interchanges on Haymarket and Piccadilly, the Apollo Piccadilly Circus is close to Piccadilly Underground Station which is served by the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines. Nearest train station: Charing Cross.


Subtitled Prince of Persia trailer

Audio described Prince of Persia trailer

Disney Prince of Persia website

IMS (Independent Media Support Group)

Apollo cinemas

Subtitled cinema listings

Audio described cinema listings

More information on access to the cinema.

Apollo cinema contact information:
Box Office: 0871 220 6000
Switchboard/Enquiry Line: 0871 220 6000
Email: piccadillycircus@apollocinemas.com

The Apollo Piccadilly Circus 5 screen complex is the first new purpose-built cinema in the West End of London for over ten years, and is part of a £70million scheme set to enhance Lower Regent Street.

This cinema is equipped with:
5 state-of-the-art screens from an intimate 40 seats to a generous 168
Air-conditioned auditoria
Digital surround sound
Licensed bar
Licened auditoria
Full size reclining armchairs
Infra-red induction loop in all auditoria
Wheelchair access
Wheelchair spaces (2 per screen, except for screen 3)
The box office is accessible from street level with a lift giving access to all floors.


Subtitled and audio described cinema enables people with hearing or sight loss to enjoy film presented in its original and best form – the cinema.

The award-winning, industry-supported ‘Your Local Cinema .com’ website & information service exists to create nationwide awareness of, and build audiences for, subtitled & audio described films & shows.

Cinema subtitles, displayed along the bottom of the screen, include the spoken text as well as descriptions of sounds such as ‘door creaks’, ‘footsteps approaching’, ‘gunshot’.

Cinema audio description is a recorded narration, delivered through wireless headphones, which explains, during gaps in the dialogue, what is happening on screen.

“It’s the accessible cinema experience: SEE the dialogue! HEAR the action!”


In recent years, the progress made in the field of cinema access has been fantastic.

It is estimated that about nine million people in the UK have some level of hearing loss – one in seven of the population. Each year around 800 children are born in the UK with significant hearing loss while more than 700,000 people, including 34,000 children and young people, are severely or profoundly deaf. Some two million have significant sight loss and every day another 100 people start to lose their sight.

Before 2000, the only way people with severe hearing loss could enjoy cinema was to watch a foreign-language film. And people with severe sight loss would never dream of visiting a cinema.

Today people with any level of hearing or sight loss can enjoy the popular social activity of a trip to the cinema. Every week thousands of people in hundreds of cinemas nationwide watch the latest films with on-screen subtitles, and many listen to a recorded narration of the film (audio description) through wireless headphones.

Most UK cinemas, including all 3D and digitally- equipped sites, now have subtitle facilities, and more than 300 can broadcast an audio described soundtrack. UK distributors ensure that most popular releases – including 3D films – are available in both subtitled and audio described versions. Almost a thousand films have been made available to date.

Most suitably-equipped cinemas utilise their ‘access’ facilities regularly and every week there are more than 550 English-language subtitled shows nationwide, and thousands more audio described performances.

For people with hearing or sight loss, cinema is not the out of bounds social activity of the past, but is now a very accessible, welcoming, exciting, day or night out with family or friends.


A selection of quotes and reports from people with hearing or sight loss who have discovered – or rediscovered – the joys of cinema-going, thanks to subtitles and audio description:

“Have you ever tried to lip-read a masked super hero or villain? Or an animated rat, fish, car or robot? Without subtitles we just watch the pictures and guess the story”

“I enjoyed A Christmas Carol a lot. I can hear well with my digital hearing aids, compared to many deaf people I know, but the unfamiliar, oldie-style Dickensian words would have been lost on me without subtitles.”

“My profoundly deaf mother had given up trying to lip-read movie stars years ago. At a subtitled show her eyes flickered into life. Two glorious hours and finally my mother and I have rekindled our cinema habit. She is now in her seventies, I’m approaching my forties. It May have been some time coming, but damn was it worth it!”

“My Granddad was a big film fan – Dad too – and I grew up with books and magazines on films and cinema in general. But being deaf, thanks to meningitis, I could never get the full cinema experience. My Granddad, also very deaf due to his advancing years, used to say it was better for people like us a hundred years ago when silent films were around as they had caption cards on the screen! I missed out on many films at the cinema, which I have since watched with subtitles on DVD. I believe that if my Granddad was alive today he’d be joining my Dad and me on our regular trips to the movies because captioned cinema has returned!”

“I know quite a few people who, like me, have become disabled in the prime of their lives. I served in Iraq, came home last year with permanent damage to my hearing. I can still enjoy music, it’s just not as clear as it used to be. I find I now read a lot of song lyrics! Never really bothered before. Same with films. I can still enjoy them with a little ‘assistance’. In this case, subtitles. I only go to the cinema now if the film is subtitled. Thankfully most are these days.”

“The cinema audio description experience is like listening to a Harry Potter audio book, but with all the actors voicing their own parts and with the addition of the film’s complete soundtrack – delivered in fabulous surround sound”

“After losing most of my sight four years ago I gave up on cinema – only to discover audio description some months later. I’ve since watched many more films. Watching ‘Avatar’ I felt just like one of the crowd, reacting with amazement just like the other people in the cinema. I actually felt like I had my vision back.”

“I have lost my sight. You think I can’t enjoy the cinema? Imagine the scariest film you know, only SCARIER!”

“Audio described cinema is wonderful, not just because it allows me to enjoy movies but to discuss them with sighted friends afterwards. Through cinema audio description, I have been able to follow up the recommendation of a friend who gushed about the beauty of the visuals in Volver. Conversely, I have been able to return the favour by plugging the striking images in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It doesn’t matter that I couldn’t ‘see’ them – the description was so vivid that I can still imagine Brad Pitt shooting into the ice, causing a puff of smoke to rise, or Casey Affleck in a rocking chair. When accompanying sighted friends, I can enjoy the car chase in Casino Royale and the decapitation by helicopter blade in 28 Weeks Later, relying on my memories of being a sighted gorehound.”


Subtitled cinema!

Subtitled Sex & the City 2, Prince of Persia, She’s Out Of My League, Robin Hood, Tooth Fairy, Death at a Funeral, Nightmare On Elm Street, Iron Man 2, Back Up Plan and more…


Movie subtitles

5 12 2009

AnySubs.com is a project aimed at creating a collection of subtitles for any video material in all possible languages. You need to re-author your DVD in order to add subtitles.

dvd-subtitles.com and Movie Subtitles are a useful resource for checking out which movies are subbed or not, before renting or buying.

DivX movies

Get your YouTube videos captioned

26 09 2009

Speakuplibrarian got there before I did 🙂

I spotted this cool site Captvids.com which captions YouTube videos at
Speakuplibrarian’s blog. She has written about this site and posted a funny captioned video.

Lost for words

18 07 2009

I love watching movies as it’s a great way to relax without the stress of communicating with hearing people or trying to follow something that isn’t accessible. I use a DVD postal service as it’s easier than walking to the nearest rental shop and there is a bigger selection. It’s a fantastic service, except when you receive a DVD and it doesn’t have subtitles. I’ve been renting DVDs from easycinema.com and have been watching the series Lost. All the DVDs had subtitles and indicated this on the website listings. This week, the DVD I received had no subtitles at all, so I emailed customer services and told them. I said I felt I was entitled to an accessible service under the DDA as they were a public service provider, therefore should provide subtitles. Their reply –

Thank you for letting us know about your recent faulty disc ‘Lost – Season 1 – Part 1 – Bonus Features’. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by this and we’d like to reassure you that we do take quality control very seriously.

We regularly check and clean all of our DVDs, and any damaged discs we become aware of are immediately withdrawn from circulation and either fixed or replaced with new stock. We’re therefore very grateful for this report as we can now take action to correct this disc.

We have added an extra credit to your account, so another rental can be sent as soon as possible from those available on your selection list. If you have selected to replace this title back onto your list, we will try and send it again for you. We hope that you don’t have any further problems in the future.

We hope that you don’t have any further problems going forward and once again we are sorry for the inconvenience caused. We hope that you will continue to enjoy using our service in the future.

I think someone has completely missed the point here! Or do they not even bother reading their emails and just press the button that says Refund? *rubs hands in glee*

Takie Piss

13 07 2009

Some subtitle mistakes are very funny. Apparently, the subtitle just before this one read: “Good Evening, I’m Piers Moron.”

Have you come across any funny ones?


Subtitles on airline carriers

30 06 2009

I’ve just booked a long-haul holiday and I’m really not looking forward to a long flight with British Arseways where I am unable to watch the screened movies because they won’t subtitle them. A lot of my friends complain about this particular issue, and I do think it’s about time the airline carriers wake up and give people with a hearing loss the equal access to movies we all expect and deserve.

As a hearing person, how would you like to sit through a long flight with the sound turned off on all the movies? When you complain, you’re told, “Oh sorry, we do provide a great service with lots of movies, but we just can’t cater for this”. Raarrrrrr.

Kyle has been through this with British Arseways and has plenty to say, read about his experiences here and here. United Arselines and US Arseways also have a bad rep. Virgin and KLM seem to be providing subtitles.

I think it’s hard for one person to make a difference by complaining. Too many people just put up with bad service and keep quiet. If we ALL complained, don’t you think that might be more effective? You can help by signing this petition to airline carriers to carry subtitles. Not just hot air.

You’ll notice this petition is American – well we’ve gotta start somewhere! The aim is to reach 10,000 petitions and the total at the moment is 1,323 signatures. This petition is also on Facebook at Subtitles on All Airline Carriers with over 5,000 members.

Signing the petition is FREE. There are no sign ups required!
1. Go to the petition
2. Fill out your information
3. Confirm, uncheck the boxes for information (unless you want this), then Submit
3. “Share”, just go to the bottom and click “Skip This”
4. Thank You Page (You’re done!)

INVITE your friends! The more people, the better!

1. Click on “Invite People to Join” button in the right menu.
2. Select all of your friends.
3. Click on the “Send invitation” button.

Fast and Easy!

From the petition “Subtitles on all aircraft carriers”;

Several people within the Deaf Community have brought up the issue that airlines do not put subtitles on TV shows and movies. Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing people make up a great number of the Airline’s customers. We travel a lot so we should be given the same consideration by the airlines as hearing customers. Is it fair, ethical that we have to sit through our long flights, unable to understand whatever is on while hearing customers are able to enjoy the services to the fullest. We have waited a long time for this change to happen and now it is time to become proactive. Sure the ADA law has taken care of us in some situations, but shouldnt ADA Title III: Public Accommodations apply to this situation also? Why not be heard, Im sure I speak on the behalf of the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing community when I say that we would love to have subtitles on all Aircraft Carriers. I welcome not just the United States but the world, people who fly need subtitles, come and sign this petition.