Captioning / Relay - Archive

Yahoo brings accessibility quest to Boston

October 1, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Technology



Boston Globe
by Hiawatha Bray

According to the World Health Organization, a billion people worldwide have some form of disability. The giant Internet service Yahoo wants to deliver information and entertainment to every one of them, not just because it’s good business, but also because it’s the right thing to do.

On Tuesday, Yahoo showed off an “accessibility lab” at its Boston facility in Downtown Crossing. Yahoo will use the lab to test the closed captions it attaches to its online video content, to ensure that deaf viewers can enjoy the shows.

Yahoo includes such captions on nearly all its video content, but must carefully tailor the captions for multiple devices. The same video might be viewed on a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or a videogame console. The Boston accessibility lab will ensure that captions are modified as needed, so they’re correctly rendered on each device.

“The more we can both prove the financial value and the social value, hooray! What a double win that is!” said Larry Goldberg, Yahoo’s director of accessible media and manager of the Boston lab, one of two run by the company. Goldberg spent nearly 30 years at Boston public television station WGBH, where he led the National Center for Accessible Media, a pioneer in the use of closed captions and descriptive audio for people with vision problems.

See original article

Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe.

Job Opening for Virginia Captioned Telephone Service Outreach Coordinator

September 1, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Employment




Hamilton Relay, Inc. currently has a position open for

“Virginia Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator” staffed in Richmond, Virginia.

Position summary: This full-time position is responsible for coordinating and implementing outreach activities designed to promote Captioned Telephone Service (CapTel®) for Virginia Captioned Telephone Service (VACTS). The position requires independent travel throughout the state of Virginia.

Preferred education, experience and skills:

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree and two or more years of experience in the design and implementation of public outreach, public relations or related marketing experience are required.
  • Experience in the telecommunication field, Traditional Relay Service or Captioned Telephone Service is a strong plus.


  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Experience in the planning, coordination and delivery of public relations activities
  • Ability to develop effective outreach and educational campaigns
  • Ability to confidently communicate (oral & written) with a wide variety of audiences
  • Ability to plan, schedule and execute multiple projects
  • Ability to understand and follow directions
  • Capacity to develop and maintain effective working relationships with Relay Administrator, organizations within the public, private and non-profit sectors
  • Knowledge of and ability to understand various communication modes used by current and potential relay users
  • Familiarity with the user communities that could benefit from relay services:
    • Senior Community
    • Hard of Hearing Community
  • Able to travel alone
  • Be able to lift up to 50 lbs
  • Captioned Telephone users are encouraged to apply

Interested individuals may apply online at: or contact Amy Hall in Corporate Human Resource Department by September 11, 2015 at 800.821.1831. Hamilton Relay is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability.

Hamilton Relay, Inc. is a division of Hamilton Telecommunications based in Aurora, NE. Hamilton offers a competitive wage and full time benefits.

DOWNLOAD – Job Description – Virginia Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator 0815


FCC Boosting Open Video Platform for the Deaf

August 20, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology


Initiative to Ease ASL Users’ Communication With Government

Multichannel News
By: John Eggerton
August 20,2015

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give people with disabilities a hand. Make that two hands, and in the process, a stronger voice.

Wheeler plans to announce today at the TDI Conference in Baltimore that the FCC is making available an open-source video platform to make it easier for the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind community to communicate with federal agencies and businesses in American Sign Language (ASL).   “It is time for people who speak with their hands and hear with their eyes to enjoy modern advancements in communications technologies,” Wheeler planned to tell the conference, according to the commission, which announced the initiative in tandem with the speech.

“It’s time for you to be able to have your video products work together, so you can call whomever you wish, whenever you wish, from anywhere. The platform we are launching has tremendous potential to ensure that you will be able to do this.”

The FCC already has a direct video system — it was the first federal agency to use interactive video to give the deaf and hard-of-hearing access to ASL consumer support, an agency spokesperson said — as does the Small Business Administration. The Census Bureau, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the City of New York have all announced plans to use such a system.

Read more   . . . 

Thank You, Donald Trump From People Who Are Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing!

July 7, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News



Huff Post – The Blog
By Janice S. Lintz
July 6, 2015

Dear Donald Trump:

People who are deaf and hard of hearing need to thank you. Years ago, I contacted you about the horrific captions on the The Apprentice. My daughter, who is hard of hearing, was learning poor spelling and getting confusing input when she watched your show. For example, “Bordeaux” (you know, the small French region where wine is made) was spelled like two animals: “boar” and “doe.”

Your office staff didn’t care when I contacted them, nor did your production team, Mark Burnett Productions. In fact, I learned that the Burnett team never reviewed the captions. The woman whose job it was to do this told me that I was “stressing her out” by complaining.

So, I contacted Bob Wright, the then-chairman of NBC. Thankfully, he cared–his personal experience  . . . .

Read more  . . . Trump

Deaf Canadians fear loss of televised, captioned election debates

May 28, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News



Times Colonist
The Canadian Press
May 27, 2015

OTTAWA – Deaf and hard-of-hearing Canadians fear their needs as voting citizens might be lost in the shuffle in the coming election campaign as the federal parties squabble over the formats and hosts of the leaders’ debates.

The proposal by the major TV networks, put to the federal parties, includes closed captioning in both French and English — as has been the case in previous debates.

However, the Conservative Party of Canada has rejected the proposal from the so-called broadcast consortium, which includes CBC/Radio-Canada, Global News and CTV.

As a result, the televised debates are in limbo; it’s not clear whether the opposition parties would bother with a faceoff that doesn’t include the prime minister.

The Conservatives have emphasized their desire for different formats, citing the fact many Canadians no longer watch traditional TV. But broadcasters are required by regulation to include closed captioning with their programming, even during commercials.

Will new debate proposals from Maclean’s magazine, the Globe and Mail/Google Canada, the Munk Debates and others include services for the hearing impaired?

Read more . . . Canadians captions

Stephanie Ulmer named VA Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator

March 19, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology


Stephanie Ulmer Joins Hamilton Relay and VDDHH as Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Hamilton Relay, Virginia’s captioned telephone (CapTel®) service provider, recently announced that Stephanie Ulmer has been hired as Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator. In her new position, Stephanie will provide outreach support and education services for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia to raise awareness of the CapTel services available through Virginia Relay. Virginia Relay is a free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls.

Ulmer is highly experienced in business and customer service within the health care field. Previously, she worked for the District 19 Community Services Board as administrative associate in Child and Adolescent Services. She currently resides in Prince George, Va.

“I am looking forward to shifting my focus to marketing,” says Ulmer. “I am excited to have the opportunity to travel and meet people throughout Virginia and educate them about the life-changing benefits CapTel provides for individuals who have difficulty hearing over the phone.”

CapTel is designed specifically for people who have difficulty hearing over the telephone. Using a CapTel phone, users speak directly to the other person and are able to listen while reading word-for-word captions of what’s said to them during phone conversations. Behind the scenes, captions are generated by a specially-trained Captioning Assistant using state-of-the-art voice recognition software. Captions appear on the CapTel phone’s display screen nearly simultaneously to the spoken word, adding clarity and confidence in using the phone to communicate with friends, family and businesses.

Virginia residents are eligible to purchase CapTel phones at a special reduced rate of $75 through Virginia Relay. CapTel phones are also available at no cost to people who qualify medically and financially through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP). For more information, please visit or contact Stephanie Ulmer at

About Virginia Relay

Virginia Relay and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) provide the most up-to-date technologies and assistive devices to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech-impaired to communicate via a standard telephone network. Virginia Relay services are easily accessible to anyone by dialing 7-1-1. For more information on Virginia Relay and its services, please visit, or call VDDHH at 804-662-9502 v/t.

About Hamilton Relay

Hamilton Relay provides contracted Traditional Relay and/or Captioned Telephone services to 17 states, the District of Columbia and the Island of Saipan, and is a provider of Internet-based Captioned Telephone services nationwide. More information is available at



NAD and VUDU Reach Agreement to Caption 100% Content

February 10, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News



The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a non-profit civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and VUDU, Inc., a wholly owned streaming entertainment subsidiary of Walmart, have reached an agreement for VUDU to caption 100% of programming content streamed through VUDU’s Video on Demand Service.

The agreement indicates the parties’ mutual intent to increase access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to movies and television streamed on the Internet. VUDU has ensured that as of January 16, 2015, every title listed in its catalog is closed-captioned or subtitled. In addition, VUDU has committed to captioning all newly-acquired content as soon as that content is made available to the public.

Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of NAD, said, “Online streaming entertainment has become one of the most popular methods of viewing movies and television shows. The National Association of the Deaf is thrilled to announce that 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to fully access VUDU’s Video on Demand services.”

“We are grateful for NAD’s guidance and are excited to be offering VUDU’s entire library of HD movies and TV to customers who are deaf and hard of hearing,” said Jeremy Verba, General Manager, VUDU.

“Streaming entertainment is reshaping how people watch television and movies. VUDU has ensured that its deaf and hard of hearing customers have that same access to this new entertainment delivery system,” said Arlene Mayerson, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund’s Directing Attorney. “DREDF urges other streaming entertainment providers to incorporate access to deaf and hard of hearing individuals at the outset rather than as an afterthought. It’s a sound business practice that’s also the right thing to do.”

“By ensuring 100% closed captions on all of its streaming titles, VUDU has demonstrated that it is an industry leader, setting the standards for an open Internet,” said Bill Lann Lee, an attorney at Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, P.C.

The Settlement Agreement (PDF) between NAD and VUDU is available here.



Open Captioning Screening this Week at AFI Silver Theatre

January 29, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News

AFI Silver Theatre provides open captioning for select films:

Sunday, February 1
  • BIRDMAN 7:05 (OC)
Monday, February 2:
Wednesday, February 4:

Check for upcoming Open Caption Screenings!

AFI Silver Theatre is located at 8633 Colesville Rd., near the intersection of Colesville Rd. and Georgia Ave.  For daily listings call 301-495-6700

(!)  Pass Restricted

Mary Dalto

Theater Manager | AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center | American Film Institute 
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 | P: 301.495.6720 | F: 301.495.6777 |

AFI Silver Theatre – OPEN CAPTION screenings this Sunday (1/25)

January 22, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community Events, Community News



AFI Silver Theatre is happy to provide open captioning for select films this Sunday, Jan. 25th: 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (OC) at 11:00 a.m. – 5 Oscar Noms!

BIRDMAN (OC) at 7:05 – 9 Oscar Noms!

THE IMITATION GAME (OC) at 9:50 – 8 Oscar Noms!

Check for future Open Caption Screenings.

AFI Silver Theatre is located at 8633 Colesville Rd., near the intersection of Colesville Rd. and Georgia Ave.  For daily listings call 301-495-6700

(!)  Pass Restricted 

Mary Dalto

Theater Manager | AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center | American Film Institute 
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 | P: 301.495.6720 | F: 301.495.6777 |

With Captions – YouTube video

January 8, 2015 in Captioning / Relay, Community News



Published on Dec 29, 2014

Youtube videos are not accessible to everyone, adding closed captions to videos will make them accessible to millions of more people. Share this video on social media, tag your favorite creator and help make your favorite videos enjoyable for everyone! #withcaptions

Portland Captioning Proposal Receives Enthusiastic PCOD Support

December 17, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Technology



PORTLAND, OR December 16, 2014, Spokespersons for Portland: Turn on the Captions Now! (PTCN) David Viers and Jim House co-presented about PTCN’s efforts to require all television sets in public places within the city to the Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) at its regular meeting on Friday, December 12, 2014. The presentation was followed by a few questions, and concluded with a resounding vote of support by the Commission.

In the presentation, David and Jim reviewed the advantages of captioning, and the lack thereof on many television sets in public places like restaurants, bars, gyms, waiting rooms, libraries and other places where people watch television outside the homes. However, many public places have become proactive in turning on the captions, simply because of the noisy environment and the fact that customers need a way to know what is being said during newscasts, sports games, and emergency announcements.

There are similar laws in San Francisco and the State of Maryland. Portland has the opportunity to take the lead and become a Model City for Individuals with Disabilities according to Portland City Council member Amanda Fritz, who is introducing the ordinance for consideration by the Portland City Council. The San Francisco ordinance required captioning at all times, but limited the scope of coverage to government facilities and sponsored events such as outdoor movies in a park. The Maryland law expanded the scope of coverage to include private businesses, but the requirement is effective only when a customer or patron makes a request, which is often unfruitful because of so-called technical difficulties or staff inexperience. The City of Portland can expand on the merits of both prior legislations while crafting its ordinance. The primary goal of enforcement would be to educate businesses of their obligations and to empower consumers by making them aware of their rights to access information on television.

After the presentation, there were some questions regarding Spanish captioning and theatrical movie captioning. At the end, the PCOD voted unanimously to support the concepts and looks forward to helping PCTN move the captioning proposal forward.


“With the passage of this ordinance, Portland will show everyone – both citizens and visitors — that this is a city that is welcoming to everyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities,” exclaimed Carol Studemund, who helped initiate this grassroot effort.  Carol is the founder and president of LNS Captioning, serves on the captioning committee of National Court Reporters Association, is chair of the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, and also with Portland Community Media.


“With the help of PCTN, Portland has this opportunity to take the lead and blaze new trails in accessibility where everyone has full and equal access to vital information on televisions anywhere and everywhere,” proclaimed Jim House, a technology accessibility specialist who spearheaded this effort with Ms. Studenmund.  A native of Portland, Jim also serves on the accessibility committee of National Emergency Numbering Association and recently relocated here after spending more than 15 years with Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. in Washington, D.C. promoting accessible technologies for people with hearing disabilities at the Federal Communications Commission and other consumer, government, and industry forums.


“This proposed ordinance to turn on the captions on televisions in every public place will enhance the quality of life for both non-hearing and hearing people in the City of Roses,” said David Viers, an advocate for people who are hard of hearing who lends a hand promoting this effort .  Viers is a semi-retired nonprofit administrator with experience in two centers for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.


Grateful appreciation is due to the following consumer organizations for their support:

  • Oregon Association of the Deaf
  • Hearing Loss Association of America – Oregon State Association (HLAA-OR)
  • Oregon Communications Access Project (OR-CAP), a local grassroot advocacy group that is credited with implementing captioning at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland Trail Blazers, and other venues.


To support our efforts and be informed with updates of future developments, go to:


Jim House


NAD Shares Insight Behind Closed and Open Captions

December 11, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Community News


NAD Website

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) takes a moment to explain the purpose of the Joint Recommendation and the Comment that was filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on December 1, 2014. Both filings were very important for the deaf and hard of hearing community. With such action, we know that there’s work left to be done — with your support, we can continue the fight for equality for access in Movie Theaters!


Demand for court and stenography reporters rising in California, nation

December 9, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Employment, Technology


The Bakersfield Californian
Friday, Dec 05 2014 05:29 PM

By RUTH BROWN The Bakersfield Californian

Typing quietly while catching every spoken word, court reporters are often overlooked but critical components of the judicial system.

And the demand for them is growing while the number available capable of typing the required 200-word-per-minute threshold for courtroom work is dwindling.

Read More . . .

Hearing-impaired patron sues Hippodrome Theatre

December 4, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Disability Law



The Baltimore Sun
By Mary Carole McCauley,

A Baltimore woman filed suit Monday in federal court asking a judge to order the France Merrick Performing Arts Center to provide open-captioned performances for its hearing-impaired patrons.

Jessica Gill is a lifelong lover of musical theater with a severe hearing disability who became frustrated and angry after her efforts to see the musical “Newsies” at the theater were stymied. The show opens Tuesday night and runs through Sunday.

She filed suit against the Key Brand Theatrical Group, which has a contract to operate the historic theater, the nonprofit Hippodrome Foundation and the Maryland Stadium Authority, which undertook a $62 million renovation of the former vaudeville palace in 2004.

The suit alleges that by refusing to provide the closed captioning that provides a running transcription of the dialogue and lyrics — similar to supertitles in opera — the venue violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the suit, Gill communicated back and forth with the Hippodrome’s staff from last January through July attempting to find a way to attend the show and follow the action on stage. She was told that the theater provides its hearing-impaired patrons with infrared hearing devices, audio descriptions and sign interpreters, but has made no provisions for open captioning.

Read entire article  . . .

NATO issues ‘landmark’ access recommendations for hearing disabled to DOJ

November 25, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Community News



Nov 24, 2014
Annlee Ellingson Staff Writer- L.A. Biz

More than 38 million Americans have a hearing disability, according to the Los Angeles Times. And while 70 percent of Americans go to the movies at least once per year, only one-third of the deaf and hearing-impaired do. That’s more than 14 million potential movie tickets that go unsold.

Such data makes for a strong case for movie theaters to install captioning equipment for hearing-disabled guests — as does avoiding costly lawsuits levied by advocacy groups. But such accommodations can be expensive — $3,000 to nearly $40,000 depending on the size of the theater, the Times estimates. So the National Association of Theatre Owners, along with four deaf and hard-of-hearing advocacy groups, is negotiating with the Department of Justice to make sure such an investment would be equitably distributed among its members.

For example, the joint recommendation agrees that all digital screens should be installed with closed-captioning (CC) and audio-description (AD) technologies. However, the DOJ has proposed a fixed formula for the number of CC display units based on the number of seats in a theater complex, regardless of the venue’s actual attendance or the number of deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the vicinity. The NATO document instead recommends establishing a minimum device requirement — 12 units for a theater with 16 or more screens — and then monitoring demand every six months, requiring display units at a rate of 150 percent of average weekend consumer demand.

Read entire Article  . . .