August 1, 2016
Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans Bulletin
Good news! Starting today, August 1st, Minnesota’s new closed captioning law goes into effect. As of now, closed captioning is required to be kept on at all times in certain medical facilities.
The law applies to waiting rooms in hospitals, surgical centers, birth centers and some group homes. The group homes affected are those that provide housing, meals and services to five or more people who are developmentally or physically disabled, chemically dependent or mentally ill.
Deaf and hard of hearing airline passengers will soon have closed captioned, on-demand in-flight entertainment videos. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a non-profit civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and Gogo LLC, the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, have reached a historic agreement for Gogo to make closed captioning available for 100 percent of programming content sourced by Gogo and streamed through its on-demand in-flight entertainment service, Gogo Vision.
This is the first agreement of its kind with an in-flight entertainment company, and is the result of the parties’ mutual intent to increase access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to movies and television that are viewed in flight on U.S. domestic flights. Passengers using their own personal Wi-Fi enabled devices can access a Gogo Vision server located on aircraft of certain airlines that contain an extensive library of movies and television shows.
Have you noticed the recent buzz about closed-captioning? Just last week, the FCC introduced quality rules for closed captions (CC) on television: TV broadcasters and other video programming distributors now must ensure that captions meet the following quality standards:
Accuracy: Captions must be grammatically correct and provide essential non-verbal information.
Synchronicity: Captions must coincide as closely as possible with the audio.
Completeness: The entire program should be captioned.
Placement: Captions should be viewable, legible and not block important on-screen information.
While a great step forward for TV, the Internet still lags behind. In a recent Time article, Steve Friess a hearing impaired journalist wrote a complaint against the Internet’s inaccessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing. As Steve watched the live-stream unveiling of the new Apple Watch, he realized there were no captions and was frustrated because Apple is often admired for creating devices that break down barriers for people with disabilities. By not providing CC, millions of people with hearing loss could not watch the event in real-time. Next month, HHF is meeting with Apple executives to discuss ways they can offer support for people with hearing loss and promote prevention. If you have a message you would like us to share directly with Apple, please email us.
Similarly, The New York Times thinks requesting CC for NYT.com’s videos is “an extremely reasonable request” and plans to roll out CC in the coming months. To read about one person’s recent challenge with CC at the movies, check out a blog post
written by HHF Board Chair, Shari Eberts.
Source: http://qz.com/220541/why-tv-captions-are-still-so-terebel/ By Tammy H. NamJune 23, 2014
Imagine sitting down to watch an episode of the HBO hit series Game of Thrones—and hardly being able to understand anything. That’s the case for non-native English speakers or any of the 36 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Americans. HBO doesn’t expect its viewers to have a knowledge of High Valyrian; that’s why it takes care to offer subtitles to viewers understand exactly how Daenerys intends to free the slaves of Essos.
If only most online streaming companies took as much care in everyday captioning.
Machine translation is responsible for much of today’s closed-captioning and subtitling of broadcast and online streaming video. It can’t register sarcasm, context, or word emphasis. It can’t capture the cacophonous sounds of multiple voices speaking at once, essential for understand the voice of an angry crowd of protestors or a cheering crowd. It just types what it registers. Imagine watching classic baseball comedy Major League and only hearing the sound of one fan shouting from the stands. Or only hearing every other line of lightning-fast dialogue when watching reruns of the now-classic sitcom 30 Rock.
As of April 30, streaming video companies are now required to provide closed captioning. On all programming. There’s no doubt that we’re in a better place than we were even five years ago, when streaming video companies weren’t required to closed-caption any of its content. But, there still is a long way to go in improving the accuracy of subtitles. Netflix and Amazon Prime users have bemoaned the quality of the streaming companies’ closed captions, citing nonsense words, transcription errors, and endless “fails.” These companies blame the studios for not wanting to pay for accurate translations but excuses aren’t flying with paying streaming video subscribers.
Marlee Matlin, the Oscar-winning actress and longtime advocate for better closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing, recently mentioned in an interview that she knows that she’s missing out on most of the action when she’s watching streaming video. “I rely on closed captioning to tell me the entire story,” she says. “I constantly spot mistakes in the closed-captions.
London’s Stagetext has just launched a new film called “Getting More Theatre For Your Bucks”. It’s a wonderful resource to share with theaters and other venues when encouraging them to caption their performances.
The video shows several theatre-goers with hearing loss who talk about the experience of having captioning available.
Lissy Lovett, Programme Manager of Stagetext, says the company is hoping that more potential caption users who are hidden in existing audiences, or who have given up on theatre since experiencing a deterioration in their hearing, will see it and think “Oh, it’s people like me who are using this so maybe I’ll give it a try.”
Kudos to Lissy and Stagetext; and thanks to Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC) for its work to make captioning universal.
Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. You do not need permission to share this information, but please be sure to credit NVRC. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.
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