A Captioned World

IMAG1977The TV’s on. So is the captioning. For my dad it’s a godsend. He reads a lot better than he hears.

For me it’s a bit of a distraction. A worthy distraction, but a distraction.

Live captions follow live speech by five seconds or more. It removes the dialog from the action. You watch the touchdown and the replay before you read about it.

When it’s live, words are misspelled or a similarly sounding word is substituted for the correct on. Watching captions isn’t like listening. Context is missing.

The Tender Trap is on TCM at the moment. TCMs captions are great. Nicely formatted. In sync with the on-screen dialog. Out of the way at the very bottom of the screen.

When captions are on it’s hard not to look at them instead of the film. I find myself having to consciously move my eyes back to the actors.

All this is small peanuts. For my dad, for whom hearing is difficult, captions work.

7 thoughts on “A Captioned World”

  1. I feel the same as you. Occasionally my wife needs them on because the background music overpowers the dialog and it interferes with her hearing aid. I use them when the accents are sometimes hard to follow (especially on BBC America). I agree that they lag during live programming, but most pre-recorded shows are fine. There are a number of organizations that do the CCs, but I find that the best ones are done by WGBH in Boston. They produce CCs for a number of shows other than PBS. My only complaint is when the CCs are superimposed at the top of the screen over peoples’ faces. I don’t know if that is done by the CC producers or our cable provider (Comcast/Xfinity).

  2. I use them!! It took me awhile to get to a point where I can look at the screen as a whole. It takes practice. I do get frustrated when live news captioning doesn’t cut it during an emergency. Now you know why since we’ve been buds on FB that every time a storm hits I would always check your page daily – easier to read than it is to get inaccurate information. YouTube is also an issue for me – post university online uses videos from YouTube for educational purposes but they never thought to check the captioning where it is virtually useless. I have to have a family member interpret for me, even still I miss a lot. Oh well, don’t give up typing things out with your new gig as an alternative to shoddy captioning. Years back, there was an emergency evacuation and Deaf members who watched the news didn’t evacuate because nothing was written. Lucky they are okay.

  3. Oh and sometimes screen size has a lot to do with where captions are placed. I suggest next time people shop for a TV to try out the captions before they buy at the retailer. Some TVs have options to change font, color, size – many do not.

  4. A suggestion from someone who lost her hearing in one ear virtually overnight and had to start using that close captioning. I ended up buying a nice pair of Sennheiser RS120 wireless headphones which I hooked up to my TV. I am able to hear a lot more with the sound directly in my ears and I am able to turn off the closed captioning for the vast majority of what I watch. That said, if you do use the closed captioning I would suggest playing with the settings until you hit on something that’s readable and the least distracting for everyone. Best of luck! Enjoy your ‘dad’ time!

  5. Admiration to you Geoff for using caption setting – I simply turn the volumne UP but prob is that somehow “muffles” the audio & more diff to hear. Better yet, when talking w/people – I basically post my right ear in face of talker to hear – & I believe I don’t have “hearing issue,” though my wife thinks otherwise. I simply say speak up etc. Remember old radio mics when announcers had to talk DISTINCTLY from within the stomach? Today, I believe people “mutter” something, so to make lengthy story SHORT – I just nod in contentment/agreement NOT really knowing what was said. PS:I too like it when caption is on – makes it alot easier to hear @69yrs YOUNG!!!

  6. Geoff, I just need to know…did you put the mistake in this sentence on purpose? “When it’s live, words are misspelled or a similarly sounding word is substituted for the correct on.” See, mistakes happen live and not-so-live!(I’m a court reporter, I take this personally!)

  7. Geoff:

    Consider wireless headphones for your Dad or a good soundbar or surround system. I sell TVS here in Connecticut and sold both to customers and they both work well.

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