NAD and CaptionMax Cooperate to Provide More Captioned Media

NAD and CaptionMax Cooperate to Provide More Captioned Media

Editor: CaptionMax and the NAD have received a couple of grants from the US Department of Education to caption and describe hundreds of additional items a year. Here’s the press release.

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February 2007

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and CaptionMax announce a cooperative development and distribution agreement that will dramatically increase the amount of accessible media to blind, visually impaired, deaf, and hard of hearing students. Currently, a significant portion of DVDs, Internet streaming and other curriculum-based media are inaccessible to students with disabilities. The agreement between the NAD and CaptionMax, funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), will result in several hundred additional accessible media titles per year for classroom use.

The agreement between CaptionMax and the NAD was made upon two competitive grants recently awarded to CaptionMax from the ED for the purpose of captioning and video describing non-broadcast educational media in formats such as DVD and Internet streaming. Captions are text forms of the spoken word and also often convey sound effects. Video description is audio narration provided for viewers who are blind or visually impaired, which consists of verbal descriptions of key visual elements of media such as settings and actions not reflected in dialog. Both features are necessary additions in making media accessible.

Additionally, these ED awards come just as the NAD is entering into a new five-year $7.5 million cooperative agreement with the ED for management of the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). The DCMP, currently a nationwide source of free-loan accessible educational media, will distribute media made accessible through the collaboration.

“We are deeply honored to have been selected once again as administrator of another vitally important program which provides deaf and hard of hearing students access to captioned educational media,” stated Nancy J. Bloch, NAD Chief Executive Officer. ” We are pleased to enter into a partnership with CaptionMax to expand the range of captioned programs and to include described educational media for blind and visually impaired students.”

CaptionMax President Max Duckler noted that “the goal of the grants is to go beyond simple captioning and description to explore ways to make media truly useful and accessible, such as captions for different reading speeds, expanded descriptions to provide more information to blind students, and even new approaches to improving menu navigation.”

The NAD has selected, captioned, and distributed open-captioned educational media in video and DVD format through a nationwide library system and through Internet streaming under an agreement with the ED since 1991. This program of over 4,000 free-loan educational media items has reached an annual audience of over three million educators, families, and other registered users.

The Described and Captioned Media Program Project Director Bill Stark said, “The combined efforts to add these accessibility features to media and then distribute them for educational use will have a national impact as these items will be available to all blind and deaf students in K-12 classrooms throughout the United States.”

About the NAD The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), founded in 1880, safeguards the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. As a national federation of individual members, state associations, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, health care, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. The NAD is the administrator of the new DCMP federally funded project. The NAD website: http://www.nad.org has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.

About CaptionMax CaptionMax is a nationally recognized full-service captioning and audio description company that has been providing services to the broadcast, corporate, home entertainment, educational, and government media industries since 1993. The company’s captions are seen on the “Today Show,” most of the “Law and Order” programs, “Office,” “Project Runway,” and numerous other programs. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, CaptionMax has offices in New York, Virginia, and Burbank, California. For more information, visit the CaptionMax website at http://www.captionmax.com

About the DCMP The DCMP (http://www.dcmp.org/)), administered by the National Association of the Deaf, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Educators, students, families, and others who work with individuals who are blind or deaf are the target audience for the DCMP free-loan media program. Schools, consumers, media producers/distributors, captioning agencies, businesses, government agencies, and others are the target groups for DCMP information, training, and evaluation activities related to educational media access.