Captioning for people with hearing loss

captioning for people with hearing loss

Captioning is a way to provide communications access to people with hearing loss. Various forms of captioning, including movies, TV, and the internet, ensure that sound information is available to people with hearing loss.

Captioning generally involves the presentation of acoustic information in a textual format. It has much the same look as subtitles on a foreign film. The difference is that the text presents the language that is being spoken (generally English in the US), rather than a translation of a different language.

Captioning can open up a variety of mediums to hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf people. The most common is television. Too few television shows are captioned, but this is the medium in which captioning is most prevalent. Also, thanks to Federal law, the percentage of captioned television content is increasing all the time.

Another captioning application that has a significant impact on the lives of people with hearing loss is Computer Assisted Real Time (CART) Captioning. This is a system in which a captioner transcribes speech word-for-word in real time and makes the text output available to consumers on a laptop or projected onto a large screen.

One of the social activities that many hard of hearing, late deafened, and oral deaf people give up early in their hearing loss career is movies. If a person can’t hear the dialog, a movie isn’t very enjoyable. Fortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of captioned movies, which make movies accessible to people with hearing loss.

What about internet captioning? Because of increasing use of sound, much of the internet may soon become inaccessible to people with hearing loss. This is an extremely important issue, and one we all need to understand.

And another relatively new practice – the captioning of live theater performances!

Imagine having access to captioning any place, any time, in any situation. It’s not quite here yet, but the advent of   Remote Captioning promises something like that in the near future.

January 2001 – Have you watched a DVD movie yet? If not, chances are you soon will. WIll it have captions – or only subtitles? What’s the difference? Which is better? Read our story on DVD Captions vs. Subtitles.

March 2002 – Here’s a great article by Tamar Clarke on the various forms of captioning, with emphasis on CART.

April 2002 – Have you ever heard of VoiceWriting? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t; it’s pretty new stuff. VoiceWriting is the process of using voice recognition software to produce text from the spoken word, instead of more traditional methods like court reporter machines. My excitement about this new technology is evident in this recent article.

April 2002 – The current critical shortage of captioners seems to have gotten the attention of our national politicians, as Congress recently allocated nearly $6 million to train captioners.

October 2003 – The NCRA has just announced a new procedure to certify CART and television captioners.

August 2004 – The 2006 captioning requirements are right around the corner. Soon you’ll be able to turn on almost any TV show and have it be captioned, right? It may not be that easy, as we discuss in this analysis of captioners available to meet the 2006 requirements.

October 2005 – Here’s a great idea for something like universal captioning access using a PDA!

June 2006 – DVD “CC” LABELING CLASS SETTLEMENT

July 2006 – Guidelines for Creating Accessible Digital Materials Published by WGBH/NCAM

August 2006 – NAD Files Complaint About Lack of Captioning at Football Games

September 2006 – Interview of “Named Plaintiff” in DVD Captioning Case

September 2006 – Suit Demands Captioning at Redskins Games

December 2006 – FCC Approves IP Captioned Telephone

December 2006 – FCC Approves IP Captioned Telephone Service

February 2007 – Few DVD players can decode closed captioning

February 2007 – NAD Promotes “Read Captions Across America”

February 2007 – NAD and CaptionMax Cooperate to Provide More Captioned Media

June 2007 – Digital Revolution Ignores Captioning Requirements

July 2007 – Court Reporters Face Diminishing Ranks, NCRA Warns

July 2007 – More Captioners Needed

August 2007 – FedEx Field Captioning Suit Enters 2nd Season

August 2007 – DOE Funds Mobile Media Captioning Research

August 2007 – WGBH to Develop Captioning for Handheld Media

September 2007 – iTunes 7.4 adds closed captioning

September 2007 – TDI Conference Workshop: Captioning and Audio Description for DVD and Multimedia Environment

November 2007 – Captions Coming to Inflight Entertainment

November 2007 – Planetarium adds closed captioning

November 2007 – Gallaudet Learning System Includes Captions

December 2007 – Canadian Captioning School Opens

February 2008 – National Park Service to Provide Open Captioning

February 2008 – NCRA Lauds House Bill to Increase Number of Captioners

August 2008 – Some Minnesota Political Ads MUST Be Captioned!

September 2008 – Game maker  to include subtitles for hearing impaired

October 2008 – Court Supports Captioning at Sporting Events

November 2008 – Public Venue Access Coming to Washington State

December 2008 – Deaf Lawyer First to Use Captioning in Supreme Court

January 2009 – UA to Require ALL Classroom Media to be Captioned

February 2009 – Washington State ferries settle lawsuit, will caption announcements

February 2009 – “C” is for Captions… and Change

February 2009 – Wash-CAP making waves and headlines

February 2009 – Seattle Pro Football Games to Become Accessible

April 2009 – Nintendo Helps Bring Captions to Mariners Games

May 2009 – Seattle Mariners Provide Captioning Devices for Folks with Hearing Loss

June 2009 – ACS Exhibits at HLAA Convention

June 2009 – When Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures at Ballpark and on TV

July 2009 – Comprompter Unveils All-Purpose Captioning System

July 2009 – Author series adds captions … and raises question

October 2009 – Ohio Stadium Adds Captioning To Scoreboard

December 2009 – Assistive Listening and Captioning at Disney

December 2009 – Nationwide Captioning Advocacy Organization Launched

January 2010 – Nanci Linke-Ellis on Captioning

January 2010 – Cowboys Stadium Provides Wireless Captioning for Folks with Hearing Loss

February 2010 – Maryland Public Captioning Bill Stalls

February 2010 – New Captioning Technology Debuts

September 2010 – 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Legislation Passes

October 2010 – Seattle group will caption seven author talks

October 2010 – Court Reporters Ready to Help with Closed Captioning for New Disability Act

October 2010 – Text Transcription: Captioning, CART, C-Print, and TypeWell

October 2010 – Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices

March 2011 – Real-Time Speech Recognition Based Closed Captioning – Faster, More Versatile and Less Expensive

March 2011 – Court ruling says Redskins have to caption song lyrics, too

May 2011 – Deaf football fan sues University of Kentucky to provide captions on scoreboard

June 2011 – Hearing-Impaired Fans Demand Captions in Stadiums

September 2011 – U of Oregon moves the bar for athletic facility access

Subtitles vs Captions on DVDs

January 2001

If you haven’t yet watched a DVD movie, chances are you soon will. When you do, you should be aware that most DVDs offer two different “captioning” options.

One is the television closed captions that you are already familiar with. They are provided for people with hearing loss on DVDs, just like they are on television and VCR tapes. You turn these on and off with your television set.

The other option is subtitles, which are offered on most, but not all DVDs. They are generally available in multiple languages, and are really intended for foreign language speakers rather than people with hearing loss. (So why do they include English subtitles on a DVD with spoken English? Good question!) You turn these on and off with your DVD player, not your television set.

Closed captions and subtitles have different formats, and you may find that you prefer one over the other. But be aware that captions are intended for people with hearing loss, while subtitles are not. This means that captions provide information about background noises (phones ringing, environment noises, etc.), while subtitles often do not.

Captioning on Your PDA

October 2005

A recent article by Dr. Dean Edell described the efforts of optical engineer Leanne West to make captioning more universally available in public venues. Leanne’s idea promises to provide captioning in any public facility that has a wireless network (which will soon be all of them!)

With a wireless network already in place, it’s a simple technical matter to stream captions over that network. The captions would be received and displayed by personal digital assistants (PDAs) which incoprorate the appropriate software. With some standards in place for both transmitter and receivers, something approaching universal captioning access is certainly achievable.

So where might this system be used? Virtually anyplace where people with hearing loss have trouble understanding announcements – sporting events, airports, hospitals, etc.

Here’s Dr. Edell’s article.

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Suit Demands Captioning at Redskins Games

September 2006

The National Association of the Deaf has filed a lawsuit against the Washington Redskins to get team officials to offer closed-captioning for the deaf and hearing-impaired at FedEx Field. The class-action suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, says the team is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act for failing to provide captioning during games.  Full Story

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Few DVD players can decode closed captioning

February 2007

Manufacturers of DVD players aren’t listening to the hearing impaired. How else to explain why so few DVD players decode closed captioning built into movie discs? Even though federal law requires televisions with screens 13 inches or larger to include closed-caption decoding, there is no such mandate for DVD players. . . . . For many people, basic subtitles are enough. But there’s a distinction. Where subtitles display only the spoken word, closed captions create a full translation of the soundtrack by adding sounds. If a car screeches off-camera, you’ll know it. If a phone rings or a baby cries in its crib or a rooster crows, you’ll know it.   Full Story

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Digital Revolution Ignores Captioning Requirements

June 2007

Colleen Farrell is a 21-year-old college senior who’s been shut out of television’s digital revolution. She wants to watch her favorite shows online. She’s up for downloading programs to her iPod. She would like to watch shows on her brother’s high-definition set.  There’s just one problem: Ms. Farrell is one of 23 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing and must rely on closed captioning. In the rush to create new products and make television programming available anytime, anywhere, the need for closed captioning is being overlooked.  The major broadcast networks have launched state-of-the-art online video players — that do not include captions. Apple has revolutionized TV viewing by making shows available for download on iTunes — without captions. The television industry is spending billions to deliver spectacular high-definition signals — but viewing captions on HD programming is a Byzantine process that has frustrated many viewers.   Full Story

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Court Reporters Face Diminishing Ranks, NCRA Warns

July 2007

Editors: Court reporters and captioners are already in short supply, and the number of practitioners graduating from training programs is on the decline. Here’s the press release from the folks at the National Court Reporters Association.

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Court cases like those surrounding Paris Hilton and Scooter Libby are high drama for Americans, but everyday routine for court reporters. As guardians of the spoken word recorded into text, their skills in a litigious society are in growing demand.

But the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) reports a downward trend in the number of court reporters graduating this year from NCRA-certified programs, with only about 350 graduates in 2007, when three times th at number are needed nationwide.

“These highly trained professionals — who are in critically short supply — are uniquely able to capture and convert spoken words into information that can be read, searched and archived,” says Mark Golden, NCRA executive director and CEO. “This specialization has created new career paths, including broadcast captioning and realtime translation services for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.”

According to Reesa Parker, NCRA’s president, the number of schools taking part in NCRA’s certification programs and their graduates have steadily declined over the decade. Almost 1,000 students graduated from more than 100 NCRA-certified schools in 1996. This year, 62 certified programs across the U.S. will graduate fewer than 350 court reporters.

Ironically, work for court reporting graduates is plentiful in government, professional firms or freelancing, with annual earnings often exceeding $70,000, according to an NCRA release. The federal Telecommunications Act also boosted demand for court reporters by mandating large increases in the numbers and types of television broadcasts that must be closed-captioned. Last year, due to the shortage of broadcast captioners, the deadline set by the Act was missed for closed-captioning of all new television programs in English. Millions of hard-of- hearing Americans were left without access to programming and critical emergency information.

To help meet the need for court reporters, NCRA is reaching out to potential students online. In addition, Congress is considering competitive grants to train captioners and reporters who specialize in realtime and Communication Access Realtime Translation. CART provides an immediate translation of all spoken words and environmental sounds for the deaf, hard-of-hearing or those learning English as a second language.

“The training is challenging,” says NCRA President Parker. “Court reporting cours es take two to four years. They demand a great deal of practice and highly-developed skills of dexterity and concentration. But for those who become guardians of the record, the rewards and sense of making a real contribution make it all worthwhile.”

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FedEx Field Captioning Suit Enters 2nd Season

August 2007

Last August, the National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Washington Redskins fans to get team officials to offer closed-captioning for the deaf and hearing impaired at FedEx Field. As another football season begins, the two sides continue to wage an off-field battle. Steve Clark, a court stenographer, was hired by the Washington Redskins to transcribe calls during games in response to a lawsuit filed by three fans seeking closed-captioning at FedEx Field. The fans in the suit say it’s not enough. (Photos By Hamil R. Harris — The Washington Post) The fans, from Maryland, regularly attend home games and want the Redskins and FedEx Field officials to display captioning on scoreboards and video monitors for all announcements, and plays and penalties called, during the game. One of the fans, Shane Feldman of Silver Spring, said he misses parts of the game because he cannot hear information announced on the public-address system.  Full Story

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DOE Funds Mobile Media Captioning Research

August 2007

The Bush Administration apparently believes there will be a growing demand for mobile video content. According to noncommercial WGBH-TV Boston, which pioneered TV captioning in the 1970’s, the Department of Education has given it more than half a million dollars to develop a system for captioning content delivered to iPods, cell phones and other handheld devices. DOE’s National Institute on Rehabilitation Research (http://www.ed.go) has given the station a $600,000 grant over three years.  Full Story

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iTunes 7.4 adds closed captioning

September 2007

As promised at Wednesday’s iPod event, Apple has released iTunes 7.4, adding support for the creation custom ringtones, among other changes. According to notes accompanying the update, iTunes 7.4 gives you the ability to play purchased videos with closed captioning (when available), rate your favorite albums and watch videos at a larger size inside the iTunes window. Apple has also made a security change to iTunes in this release to prevent maliciously crafted music files from causing the application to quit or execute arbitrary code.  Full Story

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Planetarium adds closed captioning

November 2007

Adler Planetarium recently installed closed captioning in their theaters. It is the first and only planetarium in the world that had adapted their shows for deaf and hard of hearing patrons. Shows at the planetarium are viewed on domed ceilings. Using a hand-held captioning device, deaf and hard of hearing people can experience the wonders of the universe.  Inside the Starrider Theater ‘Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity” is playing. Deaf and hard of hearing patrons can benefit from the information using I-Caption.   Full Story

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National Park Service to Provide Open Captioning

February 2008

In a Civil Rights Directive issued January 31, 2008, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the federal agency that runs the national park system and other programs, announced that they will require that all audio-visual media must be open captioned and not closed captioned. They note also that “This in no way negates [their] responsibility to provide assistive listening devices for program participants who are hard of hearing.”

The Directive explains that they opted for open captioning because it “provides the most effective and efficient method of access… Even where close captioned media is available, it has been found that much staff time and effort is often taken to ensure that captioning is turned off and on in a timely manner for participants with disabilities … switches may be easily broken or tampered with causing … non- compliance.”

For a copy of the Directive or questions, please contact Carroll Andre, Chief, Public Civil Rights Division, Office of Civil Rights, US Dept of the Interior, Email carroll_andre@ios.doi.gov or to file an ADA or other civil rights complaint against the US Dept of the Interior, follow instructions on their website.

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Some Minnesota Political Ads MUST Be Captioned!

August 2008

Minnesota candidates using radio, television or Web videos to get their messages out will have to back up their ads with text.  A new Minnesota law requires candidates for state-level offices to include closed captioning. It was promoted as a way to help deaf or hard-of-hearing voters access the political content.  The requirement applies to professionally produced ads less than two minutes long and meant to influence voters. Transcripts of radio ads must be posted on the candidate’s Web site.  Viewers have to trigger the closed-caption function on their TV sets to see the new feature.  Most of the ads this election season will be run by candidates for U.S. Senate and the presidency. The captioning law doesn’t apply to them because they operate under federal campaign rules.  Judicial candidates are also exempt.  

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Game maker  to include subtitles for hearing impaired

September 2008

In order to make games more accessible to the hearing impaired, Ubisoft today announced plans to include subtitles in all internally-developed titles. The first games to support subtitles will be Far Cry 2, Prince of Persia, and Shaun White Snowboarding. “This commitment entails modifications to some of our game engines, as well as the inclusion of subtitles in the conception phase of game development,” said Ubisoft, the world’s sixth largest publisher. Considered one of the most common disabilities, hearing loss is said to affect more than 10 percent of the world’s population.

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Deaf Lawyer First to Use Captioning in Supreme Court

December 2008

In a stirring plea on behalf of a 10-yearold deaf girl from northern Westchester County, a 35-year-old graduate of Brooklyn Law School today became the first deaf lawyer to argue before the United States Supreme Court. With the help of a computerized video display screen, the lawyer, Michael A. Chatoff, who can speak but not hear, communicated with the nine Justices during oral arguments by reading their questions and then speaking back to them. . . . . . It was the first time the Court had permitted the use of special electronic equipment in the courtroom. It did so specifically for this case, in which it must decide whether a Westchester school district may be required by law to provide a sign-language interpreter for Amy Rowley, a deaf fourth-grade student from Cortlandt, N.Y., who is in the top half of her class.   Full Story

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UA to Require ALL Classroom Media to be Captioned

January 2009

As the UA transformation cuts programming, the Disability Resource Center is launching a new service that will provide captioning for all in-class media including videotapes, DVDs, Web media and podcasts. “The truth is the university has an obligation to post things for all students,” Disability Resource Center Associate Director Carol Funckes said. “The amount of videos and media available has grown so much, yet the technology available to the students has not caught up yet.” Today will complete the first week of the new program. In a press release distributed Jan. 8, the DRC asked all UA instructors to only use media in their classroom that is either closed or open captioned. Open captioning is visible to all students while closed captioning is an option that instructors can enable upon request. If the instructor’s media is not captioned, the DRC said it is able to create captions.  Full Story

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Wash-CAP making waves and headlines

February 2009

Some Hollywood type once opined that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” If that’s the case, this has been a banner week for Wash-CAP, the Washington State Communication Access Project. On Tuesday Feb. 17, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran what I thought was a very nice story about our movie-captioning lawsuit. The P-I does give readers the opportunity to comment, and boy, did they — mostly hostile, of course, from people who think lawyers are crooks and laws don’t really apply. [snip] Some really good ink on Saturday, though, from the Kitsap Sun, our county-wide daily newspaper, reporting on our agreement with Washington State Ferries.  Full Story

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Seattle Pro Football Games to Become Accessible

February 2009

In response to an inquiry and request from the Washington State Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP), the audio portion of professional football in Seattle is going to become accessible to fans with hearing losses. The plan is to provide requesting fans with a hand-held unit that will display in captioned form the announcements from the referees, the public-address announcements, and the audio portion of the in-stadium entertainment, including song lyrics. Because the devices will be portable, we’ll be able to use them from any seat, and take them with us to the concourses or the rest rooms. And because they are individual, folks that hear won’t have their experience altered by captions on a Jumbotron or reader-board, (and we won’t hear the flak from people saying we’re ruining their fun). The captions will be done in real time by qualified captioners, possibly remote but more likely on site. The specific system they have in mind at Qwest Field in Seattle is used at National Football League stadiums in Denver, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, so it has a proven track record.  Full Story

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Nintendo Helps Bring Captions to Mariners Games

April 2009

The Seattle Mariners and Nintendo, the Mariners’ principal owner, are teaming up to make this season’s games more accessible to fans with hearing loss. Their method — a video gaming device. Nintendo and the Mariners have been working for a couple of years on the Nintendo Fan Network, which allows someone to bring a portable Nintendo gaming console to the game, then use it during the game to access a number of interactive features. To promote use of the network and the purchase of the gaming devices, the Mariners are going to be loaning 150 of the devices   Full Story

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Seattle Mariners Provide Captioning Devices for Folks with Hearing Loss

May 2009

One of our more recent entries announced that the Seattle Mariners would try to accommodate fans with hearing loss by making available portable video-game terminals that would display captions. A Wash-CAP board member tested the system last week, and said it is terrific. “The device is very good,” reports board member Dean Olson. “I was able to read it and then look up at the game. It’s useful information — like when the stories come up to read about the players.” What is being captioned is the Mariners’ radio broadcast, which is also fed into the stadium. When the public-address announcer chimes in, that announcement overrides the broadcast, and  when that happens, the captions are of the PA announcer.   Full Story

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When Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures at Ballpark and on TV

June 2009

He scouts the opposition’s names, searching for danger spots in the lineup. He stretches his arms and neck before games, and like any veteran on those maddening days without his best stuff, he finds a way to get through nine innings. He has been employed by the Yankees and the Mets, but Cory Macchiarola has never thrown a pitch for either team or swung a bat. But if you have watched a Yankees game in a bar or on a treadmill the past seven years, have been to Citi Field or are a hearing-impaired Yankees fan, you have probably seen his work. It runs across the bottom of television screens, transmitting the text of the words spoken by the broadcasters, or streams over the scoreboard at Citi Field, showing every word the public-address announcer says in real time. Macchiarola is a captioner whose meticulous work helps bring baseball and basketball to the deaf, as well as those huffing and puffing in health clubs or straining to follow the action in a noisy room.  Full Story

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Author series adds captions … and raises question

July 2009

After a year of correspondence with Wash-CAP, Seattle Arts and Lectures is making its popular Benaroya Hall presentations by prominent authors significantly accessible to patrons with hearing loss by captioning five of its 2009-10 events. <snip> By adding captions to its array of accommodations, SAL joins Seattle’s Paramount, 5th Avenue and Seattle Repertory Theatres, as well as the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks, in making its offerings available to those of us who have a significant hearing loss but who communicate orally rather than through sign language. Those captioning efforts have been instigated at the request of and in cooperation with the Washington State Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP) in furtherance of Wash-CAP’s objective of making Washington State a national model of accessibility for people with hearing loss.   Full Story

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Ohio Stadium Adds Captioning To Scoreboard

October 2009

Saturday marked the first day that captioning could be found on the scoreboard inside Ohio Stadium.  The Ohio State University decided to add special captioning for all football games. The captioning will include announcements, play descriptions and calls made by on-field officials, 10TV reported. According to the university, it will enhance fan experience and make game information accessible to all fans. Fans who spoke to 10TV had mixed reviews about the captioning.  Full Story

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Assistive Listening and Captioning at Disney

December 2009

Did you know the Disneyland Resort has several services available for guests with visual and hearing disabilities? I am 40 percent deaf, and I didn’t know about Disney’s Handheld Device until last month. I’ve never been able to hear all of the audio in attractions such as the Enchanted Tiki Room, and I’ve often wondered if I’m missing some of the rich storytelling that Walt Disney Imagineers carefully and creatively incorporate into all of the attractions at the Resort. Now, thanks to Disney’s Handheld Device, I won’t be missing those special details anymore. Today, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of this service in case you or someone you know can benefit from this really cool tool. Disney’s Handheld Device is a palm-sized wireless device that was developed in 2002. The device features several services, including Assistive Listening, which provides amplified audio at 12 attractions, and Handheld Captioning, which displays text for 14 attractions.  Full Story

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Maryland Public Captioning Bill Stalls

February 2010

Despite changes designed to alleviate bar-restaurant concerns, a bill requiring closed-captions to be displayed on televisions in public places was held up in committee Thursday. The bill, which originally said all public television sets would have to display captions at all times, was amended in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to say only one TV in each public area would need captioning. The change was made after bar and restaurant owners dependent on sports programming said they might lose business if they had to display captioning. But lawmakers still uncertain about the bill decided they were not ready to vote. The bill also says additional requests for captioning by the public must be met.  Full Story

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New Captioning Technology Debuts

February 2010

People with hearing loss soon will have a new option for viewing captions in movie theaters, classrooms, sports venues, or museums-anywhere visual or multilingual access may be needed. A wearable, wireless captioning system for consumers is being developed by Leanne West, director of the Landmarc Research Center at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). “We’re trying to make captioning affordable and easy with off-the-shelf technology that can be used in multiple venues,” said West, who is bringing the system to market this year. The system is the product of West’s lunchtime conversation 10 years ago with colleagues who mentioned lawsuits that had been filed against movie chains by patrons with hearing loss who sought access to these public facilities. “We thought there had to be an optical solution to providing captioning,” West said. With a passion for problem-solving and a background in optical and electrical engineering, West developed a prototype now in use at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., where users can view captions related to various exhibits. The system debuted publicly at the Jan. 3 Dallas Cowboys home football game as a part of the Durateq ALICE Live System. Using standard wireless technology already available at many public facilities, the venue’s transmitter sends the captions to a consumer’s wireless-enabled personal digital assistant (PDA), smartphone, or laptop. Also being developed is eyewear that provides captioning, similar to that being used to watch movies on a personal DVD player; the eyewear is being customized for use at public venues.   Full Story

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Seattle group will caption seven author talks

October 2010

Seattle Arts and Lectures has announced that it will caption the presentations of seven authors this year, including an expert on affordable health care, two Pulitzer-Prize winning literary authors and a well-known children’s author who will appear in his adult incarnation. The captioned offerings begin Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall with T.R. Reid, a former journalist and radio commentator who will talk about the dysfunctional health care system in the United States, where we spend far more money on health care than any other nation but rank a dismal 37th in effectiveness. Reid has spent years examining the health-care systems of other nations that produce better results for far less money, and will share his insights into what those countries can teach us.   Full Story

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Text Transcription: Captioning, CART, C-Print, and TypeWell

October 2010

You pick up your remote to turn on the TV and do a little channel-surfing. For many people with hearing loss, this is also the time to activate the TV’s closed caption (CC) function. Closed-captioning makes otherwise inaudible speech readable: words spoken on the nightly news, favorite sitcoms, a documentary or sporting event. Text displayed on screen brings these programs to life for people with hearing loss. As for movies, we’ve come to expect the option to see subtitles in English as well as other languages. Clearly, people with hearing loss aren’t the only ones to benefit. Subtitles and captions aid comprehension for everyone in noisy environments, like sports bars or airports. The case for text on screen has been irrevocably established.

Now imagine how helpful it would be to a student with hearing loss to be able to read everything that is spoken in a typical classroom lecture or discussion. Believe it or not, the technology is already available to achieve just that. Known as speech-to-text services, this technology captures auditory information (speech) and translates it directly into a readable format (text), in real time.  Full Story

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Court ruling says Redskins have to caption song lyrics, too

March 2011

A federal appeals court upheld a ruling Friday that requires the Washington Redskins to make game content broadcast over the FedEx Field public address system accessible to deaf fans through captioning — including song lyrics.

“Whatever the poetic merit of the lyrics and their relevance to the sport of football, we agree with the district court that the music played over the public address system during Redskins home games is part of the football game experience … and that the [Americans with Disabilities Act] requires full and equal access to the music lyrics,” judges from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in the 29-page majority opinion.  Full Story

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Deaf football fan sues University of Kentucky to provide captions on scoreboard

May 2011

A deaf University of Kentucky football season ticket holder is suing the school, seeking to force the Wildcats to put closed-captioning on the scoreboards at Commonwealth Stadium. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Charles Mitchell of Lancaster, Ky., is similar to suits brought against Ohio State University and the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Mitchell, who sued in U.S. District Court in Lexington, is seeking an injunction forcing the university to put captions for all game announcements on the scoreboards of the stadium under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bars discrimination against people with disabilities. The lawsuit against Ohio State resulted in a 2010 settlement under which the school will post captions to announcements on the Jumbotron scoreboards. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March upheld a decision requiring the Redskins to provide captioning.  Full Story

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Hearing-Impaired Fans Demand Captions in Stadiums

June 2011

Closed captions are sometimes the only means through which individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can fully access, enjoy and experience entertainment events or broadcasts that the rest of the world may take for granted. Unfortunately, in many cases, these means are denied them. Sports games are just one type of event at which deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are too often neglected and excluded. With all of the commentary, announcements and music projected over loudspeakers for aural consumption, these individuals cannot adequately enjoy the experience of a game without captioned accounts of what others can hear. The issue of making sporting events more accessible to fans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing has received increased attention over the past few years. 

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