March Captioning Advocacy Projects (CAPs)

1. Telecommunications and Internet Captioning

  • Consumers in all countries are frustrated by the lack of quality captioning and subtitles on so many videos online now. Here’s a summary of one speedy captioning advocacy project done in the CCAC community early March. The first step was someone asking for it, a CCAC consumer member. The next step was advocacy action! One of these days we may not need to keep asking in thousands (or millions) of places.

Thanks to Claude A, an active captioner volunteer and member of the CCAC. Thanks to online communications among CCAC members, she contacted KETV (USA) regarding captioning of their video “Deaf Teen Can Go To Movies, Thanks To Grandma” – and two hours after her e-mail to them, they had captioned the version. It’s available on YouTube. She thanked them by e-mail and in the comments on the KETV page, and added the link to the captioned version. CCAC sends public kudos to all involved, since this is one of the quickest action successes we’ve ever seen.

Here’s part of a respectful conversation – the way to do captioning advocacy:

From the television station: “After a little experimenting, I was able to add the transcript file to the YouTube video, so it now has CC available. Thanks again for e-mailing.” KETV.com Digital Editor

From: Claude: “Thank you so much. What matters is that the
 version of the video is now captioned. This is so much better than reading a story based on the transcript under the video.”

  • CCAC Membership discussion about new Netflix numbers and an apparently misleading way the company is publicizing the percentage of captioned films. Much remains to be done.
  • Information about MTV programming with subtitles inclusion distributed, see http://www.mtv.com/videos/misc/684911/amy-winehouse-medley-valerie-live.jhtml. for an example.
  • AARP Webinars: There is continuing advocacy to ascertain if all AARP Webinars online now include quality captioning. There is still confusion about this.
  • This Minnesota group received special thanks from the CCAC in March for inclusion of quality captioning online, see http://bit.ly/HJTXIt
  • Speaking of Minnesota, CCAC in March also learned about the legislation there requiring captioning on campaign videos Way to go MN. See this link:  http://www.mncdhh.org/legislators/
  • CCAC members discussed a news item about carriers possibly limiting “unlimited” data plans, with concerns about how this might reduce full equal access for millions of deaf, deafened, and hoh who increasingly depend on this for vital communications.
  • Related to the above, legal action news against ATT and also CNN was noted in membership discussions.
  • The end of March includes discussion of a video online about hearing health that has no captions, and yet was published online by a hearing health organization. At first it seems to refer to a video from the Voice of America (however, possibly from separate subsidiary). Active advocacy was initiated. This includes education for those at the hearing health dot org, potentially at VOA. Some of them find it confusing when we ask for captioning inclusion. Members of CCAC wonder why … indeed. Here’s a summary from the active advocate, and we’ll all learn more in April:
    • The video in question was online, yet is no longer on the link; unable to find the story easily now on the main website. It had been here: http://bit.ly/H9pMLn
    • Under the video, there was a description acknowledging VOANews as a source, but no link to the actual VOANews page for the video, and it did not seem to comply with minimal accessibility requirements of a transcript either.
    • Several CCAC members wrote to the organization, which sent all the same reply, in brief: e.g., we’ve only linked to this video, which is produced by VOANews, so we ‘are not able edit it or to caption it.
    • A CCAC advocate, to offer guidance and also demonstrate good practice, was able to caption the video, now available here.
    • Then she also wrote them again, explaining that the problem was that they had not linked to the VOANews page, but just embedded its video. Had they linked to the page, people would have found the transcript; it was possible for anyone to caption the video.
    • In response to this, they sent her the same standard reply as to everybody. Then the advocate, as often happens, found more energy to explain again to them. They re-replied that their Webmaster would do the changes. They removed the video, and added an item with the link to the VOANews page for the video and transcript.
    • Now the “hearing” organization may not have excluded the deaf, deafened, and people with hearing loss, not strictly. However, it was failing to do a small amount of work to include us, because it’s also difficult to find this page if you don’t know that they used to have the video in the /newsroom page.

This is a situation that really irks many – when even “hearing” and sometimes “deaf” sites online do not take the good next steps for communication access. There’s surely a better way to serve us well. CCAC can offer guidance.

2. Education

It’s that time of year – right now, everyone – to ask for real time captioning (CART) for your graduation ceremonies this May and June. Ask now. It will be used by one out of six people in the audience, possibly more. The school will have a transcript. And you can help educate and advocate many at this wonderful ceremony enjoyed by so many families, for students at all levels.

See this article on our website for more information and CCAC suggestions for this CAP.

3. Employment: Do you need CART or captioning at work? For a job interview? Have you asked for it? Is it provided? Are you an employer who knows what communication access is best for your employees? Do you think it’s too expensive? Contact the CCAC. Work is healthy. Full communication access is vital.

4. Government

The President of the U.S. was scheduled to visit Vermont in March. While this was a fund-raising event, interest was so high that the venue was moved to a larger space at the University of Vermont, and then CCAC was informed there was a request for real-time captioning (CART) due to hearing loss and intention to attend this event open to the public. After a long series of educational and advocacy communications, involving CCAC members and others (up to 50 or more e-mails), the organizers of the event agreed to provide professional captioning for the person needing it for equal access. Captioning would provide access for many more than the one person asking for it, if it were offered on a larger screen to one side of the room. Nevertheless, because of the time dedicated to what CCAC believes is a vital human right to communication access, the objective was achieved. People were educated about the millions who are deaf, deafened, or have a hearing loss who do not use sign language, and we send thanks publicly to all here, including the organizing committee, the consumer who asked and asked again, the professional willing to serve on short notice, and several others in Vermont and other places offering encouragement.

In Italy, a consumer and provider informed CCAC about some wonderful full captioning of streamed legislative sessions online. How great! See this link: http://bit.ly/A2smXw.

EFHOH colleagues are busy regularly in Brussels and other meetings around the Globe. We say thanks to them here also. See http://bit.ly/H9EywO.

5. Healthcare

A CCAC consumer was pleased to report that asking for captioning to be turned on at her recent medical visit was accomplished easily. This is not always the case in medical offices and health centers. At times, staff have no idea how to turn on captioning, at times vital medical information on DVD’s is not captioned, and some medical professionals are shy about using e-mail or SMS (texts) when telephone communications can be stressful for patients with hearing loss and deafness. Kudos for asking, and kudos to this section of the Maine Medical Center.

Does your health care provider know you need captioning or CART? Do you need e-mail to make appointments? Captions on the video your specialist suggests for you? Is the medical center’s website mentioning that communication access is available, via captioning? CCAC invites your stories and reports.

6. Entertainment

An active advocate with her own blog and also a CCAC member was able to celebrate in March, for her success: Advocacy to eliminate censorship (in captioning). She and others communicated, educated, and advocated well, and we all say thanks. Read more here: http://bit.ly/HavPMT.

In the UK, viewers made loud complaints about this event on television: http://bit.ly/zv445v. They are aiming to improve quality cc there, good for them!

Cinema captioning continues to draw many comments and new projects. For one example, a newer CCAC member asked in March if there is any good research comparing different systems. A long time member replied with some useful information, mainly anecdotal however. At the same time, friends in Australia are trying to conduct some good research as we go to press here. Governments, consumers, companies, others – we are all in this together. We hope consumers’ voices are heard by those who make decisions.

A new “dynamic captioning” system was in the news toward the end of March, where “bubbles” appear near the speaker’s heads! So far, only a photo was shared:

Discussion will surely continue in the CCAC membership about this method. As many know, the Sony eyeglasses are being tested in some places, and we invite more information on that anytime. E-mail ccacaptioning@gmail.com.

7. Sports: The CCAC invites news about inclusion of captioning for all sports – as a player, for you in the audience, for the Olympics this summer, for other sporting events you can identify for us.

8. Community (Clubs, Religious Institutions)

In the USA: Putting this one here for community. Consumers Union has been around a long time in the USA and many are loyal subscribers. CU gave a quick reply and included captioning, thanks to a CCAC member’s request. Good going! They said, “Thank you for offering this suggestion –  it is important that CU’s videos be accessible and we just updated our video with captions.” Here’s an example: http://bit.ly/A6oaCC.

In the World: CCAC was pleased to share this good news: The formation of a new association in the Asia-Pacific region for people who are hard of hearing and deafened. We look forward to developing collaborations for education and advocacy about quality captioning. More here: http://bit.ly/GDaRrT.

There’s been some wonderful advocacy and education from a seasoned advocate – who knows how to ask, and get what she needs. This was a request for captioning (CART) for a significant conference for non-profit organizations. Home Depot arranged the event, and we say thanks to them and the CCAC member who keeps all of us informed. Bravo to her in Florida!

By the way, CCAC members also discussed how to ask, and wise words from a few in the membership forum are worth reading. Join the CCAC soon to find them!

9. Transportation

A CCAC member initiated a CAP for airline captioning in March. On board, the screens show films and television these days, in addition to all emergency instructions of course. The law, as far as we understand it, requires captioning only for the emergency instructions, and even those may lack captioning at times. Millions of passengers also want equal communication access for television and films in the air! Many good ideas were discussed. We hope more information will come along in future months. Add your voice? Email the CCAC.

10. Courts, Justice

This category relates to someone needing communication access via captioning/CART for a court appearance, for attorney discussions, if he or she wishes to serve on a jury, or for depositions.

We invite advocacy and news from providers who may be offering this service regularly. And for general information: a court reporter is not a CART/captioning provider. The court reporter’s job is vital for accurate legal records. However, some court reporters go on to acquire extra training and certification to become captioners and CART professionals too. We like that :-).

CCAC Action for the CCAC Itself

  • The London meeting for the new campaign (THE FILM) was fantastic, simply great. We sincerely appreciate the contributions from all attending. And we especially thank the London-based company called STAGETEXT for providing the space, refreshments, CART, and also good ideas for the new campaign.

We were 14 people from five countries. It was so wonderful to meet other providers from the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, and some consumers we had met previously only online. See the article in this issue for more information, and submit your own film segment soon – using our script. We really want your submission, we really do! We need you! See this link http://ccacaptioning.org/resources/international-media-campaign/ for more info.

  • CCAC sent out a call for more helpers behind the scenes. We do the same here and now. There are never enough, in any volunteer community. If you have an interest in a newsletter role, tell us. If you love new technologies, talk to us. If you are a provider or consumer, we need “administrative” helpers also, to keep track of membership for example, growing every week (a good thing!). The Editor role is open, if you have skills and experience with Vertical Response or MailChimp. Fund-raising help is always valuable. In sum, writers, editors, networking gurus, please e-mail CCAC now if you might like a byline and some good credit form the CCAC.
  • A huge amount of energy has been devoted to creating the new CCAC website! It’s a work in progress, many steps are not complete, yet we are happy we are making progress! Whew.
  • All issues of the CCAC newsletter, “The Power of Captioning” © with original articles are now published on the CCAC web.
  • An invitation to sponsors for the newsletter: Pricing is very reasonable, we prefer small ads, and you are worth it! Please consider placing your own advertisement or simply a message of support for CCAC volunteer energies and advocacy for inclusion of quality captioning universally soon.
  • Going to any Conference soon? A conference for your work? If you are hearing or deaf, hoh or deafened, please consider distribution of the CCAC Flyer (on our web or ask for a copy via e-mail) and mention of the CCAC. We aim to collaborate. Let us know if you need more information for your panel or workshop.
  • A discussion started (once again) among CCAC membership about the term CART. It took off quickly, and one provider member created a poll on Facebook for replies about the idea of finding a new term that would explain what CART is, more easily and clearly for all. This poll was also distributed by the provider on her own active list, and other places. We look forward to reading the results. Meanwhile, in CCAC membership, some replies mentioned “real time captioning” and also “real time interpreting.” There’s clearly going to be a range of perspectives on making any change. Consensus among CCAC consumer members seemed to be (informally) that “real time captioning” or merely captioning (for CART too) is a useful term to educate and then explain more, e.g., when requesting CART from a group or for a meeting where it’s not been included before.
  • Finally, Hear This! Let’s make THE FILM: if you are reading this in April, please consider adding your voice to the FILM project. See the article in this issue. It’s easy and short. Any questions? E-mail us very soon.

That’s a wrap for March. In the next issue, we want your captioning advocacy news too! Enjoy the season everyone.