A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Oral Interpreting: There’s more than one way to see what’s said

In Accommodations for Deaf, ADA, Deafness, Hearing Loss, Lip Reading, Oral Interpreting, Oral Tranliteration, Speech Reading on March 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

By Michele Linder

Capitol Tour

2014 SayWhatClub Convention in Madison Wisconsin – L to R:  Pat, Donna, Steve, Vicky, Wendy, Michele, Henderson

Last year, at the SayWhatClub Convention, held in Madison, Wisconsin, those of us who signed up for the Wisconsin State Capitol Tour had the pleasure of experiencing an oral interpreter, also known as an oral transliterator. As a lipreader (lipreading is more accurately known as speech reading), I was thrilled to see firsthand how effective this type of interpretation can be.

Oral interpreting isn’t as common as Sign Language Interpreting, but it is a recognized subspecialty of interpreting. An oral interpreter silently mouths speech for the non-signing deaf consumer, using facial expressions and gestures to enhance understanding for those who read lips. Of the 360 million people in the world with debilitating hearing loss, only 70 million use sign language as their first language (there are others who know and use sign language, which makes that number slightly higher), leaving the majority to find other ways to communicate past the barrier of hearing loss. Oral interpreting addresses the needs of non-signers, as does captioning and CART (Real-Time Captioning).

Back to my experience in Madison…

The group touring the Wisconsin State Capitol met in the rotunda after a short walk from our hotel. There, we met our tour guide and the oral interpreter.  It was funny, usually I’m the one deaf person in a crowd vying for the best place at the front to lipread the tour guide, but when the entire group has hearing loss you realize every other person has the same goal, which was amusing.

The oral interpreter mouthed what the tour guide was saying while making pointing gestures toward the subject of what was being talked about, when appropriate. She also used her hands to make other motions and signs, along with facial expressions, to add meaning and clarification to what was being said.

Below is a video I took of our oral interpreter during the Capitol Tour.  As all of us with hearing loss know, when we’re aware of the subject being discussed we’re much more likely to get what is being said, so I’ve included a short premise to set the context:

The video begins with the mention of the 1904 Capitol fire and how the cold temperatures hampered the efforts of firefighters — once they reached Madison, they found the equipment had frozen and needed to be thawed. As a result, most of the building’s structure burned to the ground taking with it numerous records, books, and historical artifacts, including a mounted bald eagle, “Old Abe”, a civil war mascot for “Company C” of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment.

Also, I’ve added closed captions – I borrowed my daughter’s ears — to the video, but before you click that cc button, do try watching without the captions first to see how you do at lipreading the interpreter. NOTE: The tour guide’s speech (audio of the video) is what’s captioned. The oral interpreter’s words are not verbatim to what the tour guide is saying. An oral interpeter might substitute or omit words or phrases that are difficult to speech read, however, the integrity and intent of the speaker is maintained.

Whether you’re a lipreader, or not, it’s interesting to watch this video repeatedly.

First, after reading the premise above, watch without captions and pay attention only to the oral interpreter on the left in the striped skirt.  Second, watch again, this time using the captions to help you lipread the tour guide.  Third, watch a second time, with captions, but with your attention on what the oral interpreter is mouthing and see if you can pick up on the differences between the two.

An example of how the oral interpreter changes things up to make them more readable on the lips:

Tour Guide: “…that isn’t the worst news… back up six months from the fire…”

Oral Interpreter: “But that is not the worst… six months before the fire…”

Notice, the oral interpreter has done away with the contraction, “isn’t”.  One of the fundamental things I tell people when they speak to me is to please not use contractions. I need to hear each word. Also, the interpreter took the tour guide’s more confusing sentence structure and made it easier to understand by saying it in a different way.

These things, combined with the very logical motioning and signing, facial expression and body language, give the lipreader much more information to work with in figuring out what is said.

What a great experience it was to see what an oral interpreter has to offer those who need to see speech in a different way.  I hope all of you reading who might benefit from this type of interpreting will look into getting some firsthand experience with an oral interpreter.  Just as with sign language and CART, oral transliteration is a reasonable accommodation provided for through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  It can be used in a hospital setting, or any situation where an interpreter is appropriate.

Taking a tour with an oral interpreter meant every room we visited in the Wisconsin State Capitol was a “Hearing Room”.  I knew I could work in that picture of the “Hearing Room” if I tried.  :o)

Capitol Bldg Hearing Room

The “Hearing Room’ is located in the north wing of the Wisconsin State Capitol and is used by the legislature for public committee hearings.

Captioned Play in San Antonio during the SWC Convention

In captions, Hard of hearing culture on March 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

by Chelle George-Wyatt

Every now and then I’m reminded how small the hard of hearing world is. Volunteering with both HLAA and the SWC, I’ve managed to come across a good many people. One has a good contact somewhere which we generously share with each other and that is slowly but surely building our hard of hearing culture. Someone knows someone who knows someone and before we know it, we’re all hooked up which how we wound up with a captioned play at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio for the SayWhatClub convention on May 14th.

The SayWhatClub convention is proud announce Newsies, a Disney Musical, will be captioned at the Majestic Theater thanks to Turner Reporting and Captioning Services.

from campbroadway.com

from campbroadway.com

It started when captionist, Vicki Turner of Turner Reporting and Captioning Services, went to New Zealand for vacation and thanks to Facebook she had a loose connection there within the hard of hearing community. Robyn, a SWC member, welcomed Vicki into her country and her home. While together, Robyn talked about the our convention and somehow an idea formed for a captioned play in San Antonio. I’m guessing Vicki remembered me mentioning the SWC convention in November when she was in Salt Lake to caption the play How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While in New Zealand, she emailed my boss to ask how to get in touch with me, my boss forwarded the email to me and Vicki offered to donate her services to help make this happen. I forwarded the information to the convention committee and Pat got on task. Together Vicki and Pat worked with the Majestic to make it happen and that’s how we came to have a play captioned for our attendees.  From Nevada to New Zealand to Utah and then onto San Antonio in May.  What a wonderful accessible opportunity we have at our convention thanks to Vicki, Pat and the Majestic theater.

Vicki in Salt Lake about to caption Mamma Mia!

Vicki in Salt Lake about to caption Mamma Mia!

The Majestic Theater was built in 1929 in a Spanish Mediterranean Style. During the 80’s and 90’s there was $9 million renovation and stage expansion and there are 2,264 seats available. They have a section for us with discounted tickets at $34 with 15 seats available. They have another section saved for us in front of the symphony for $76. Tickets must be bought by April 24th and we will discuss this more when the convention email list opens for attendees.

Picture from majesticempire.com

Picture from majesticempire.com

Newsies is a Disney musical based on a paperboy strike in New York in 1899. The newspaper cost increases to the delivery boys who are mainly orphaned kids. The kids rally and go on strike butting heads with the police. Their story makes the front page of the newspaper. A girl becomes involved, the boys create their own newspaper and that’s all I’ll say for now.

picture from broadway.com

picture from broadway.com

We will post some of the other activities being offered around the convention in San Antonio soon.  Today, March 15, 2014, the early bird rate ends.  Prices go up $25 after today so don’t hesitate to register.  http://www.saywhatclub.com/san-antonio-con/

*Captions help us feel welcomed into society.  It’s our right made possible by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) under Title 3 .  If you are interested in getting a captioned showing of a Broadway play in your area, contact Vicki and see if you can’t help each other out.  Her webpage is linked above in the post.

Just Another Day of Advocating for Quality Captions

In Accommodations for Deaf, advocating, captions, Closed Captioning, Deafness, Hearing Loss on March 7, 2015 at 1:26 pm

By Michele Linder

This morning my niece shared a very inspiring video on Facebook… it drew me in.

I opened the link and began watching only to find that the video wasn’t captioned.

Boo! Hiss!

I then lifted information on the subject and focus of the video to search for a version that was captioned. I came across the YouTube version of the video, “Inspirational Man Born With No Arms Drives His Impala & Works For NASCAR Racing Team!”, found here:

I clicked the cc button and was hopeful… the first sentence that came up actually made sense — “how do you get through your day”, always a good sign, but the lack of capitalization and punctuation was a clue that things might turn ugly, and they did.

The next line, “may get from one place to another don’t ask to the next” appeared and I knew… this video wasn’t quality captioned, it was merely “craptioned”… you know, those automatic transcribed YouTube captions that videos try to pass off as readable, but make no sense whatsoever.

Boo! Hiss! Boo! Hiss!

Read the following story, preferably without having watched the video beforehand, and see if you can get much of the story from the “craptions”.

“how do you get through your day… may get from one place to another don’t ask to the next… there you do… every step of the way… in life there have been people that said they can’t do you think said that can… ride a bicycle people and said that I couldn’t… live on my own couldn’t get a good job in sport myself I can go to college… graduate… I don’t listened to much to people when they tell me I can do something… there’s not a whole lot this gonna stand them away… their allotted people that when I first started at Hendrick Motorsports… they had no idea what I could do and… what I was going to do the I have some guys that good friends with now… and they told me that when they heard I was coming… and when I first got there the biggest thing was what is he going to do… Hendrick Motorsports is the most winning… Organization UNESCO from Jimmie Johnson… to Jeff Gordon Dale Earnhardt junior for any engineer drawn to racy… it’s the elite destination we need to have a clear it’s there for a while… hearth Richie… Parker it’s been a job for the last he years… as a vehicle engineer 10 workers designs chassis and body components for… all four bits race teams and does all his design… the way he does most everything will be speaking… it’s very demanding when we have some I like jack announced it comes back on the… race track and he says he needs something next week… it’s going to help them win a race then no is it isnever the answer… Richie Parker was born in May 1983… in the coastal town of Buford South Carolina right away… his parents knew something was wrong a set that… there was will issue application that… with the baby and ask what and and naturally we love i think im oh man look… at the sign said the baby will… didn’t have hell arms and… I just saddam family like… what do you mean girl the knockers told the Parkers the abnormality was the… result the non-genetic… birth defect creating bilateral… million the Muslim deficiency the I’m thinkin… how we gonna get through this how with me… how we open doors how we do just a normal… day-to-day things month that’s already… it was no question ed he was the cutest baby said… you know he was accused little more good… at about fat man who was lincoln tech MCE Italian… miscue mccain of we wanted his childhood to be… as close to any other channels childhood… as possible the… that’s always been handed to we are going to make it work… we might just do it differently but it will work… politicized or thank you very much like this… Nashotah and pulls out… there are always things around the house that… made it so that I didn’t need to ask somebody else for help to do it and that… was… I was always important to me had two parents that from day one… tried to make it so that my life was I guess you could say is normal as… possible… whatever normal is this came off a large… fight somewhat less a beach cruiser other kids and they would head back… yeah which is Colorado by and we honest do it some other dangers… we get long handle bars… and bandits up and then bang it out… and well in a far far one how market other… men have to that year old by Canada… case in a min Manning just… okay iraq despite and… as a teenager Ritchie center independence founded sharpest focus… in cars of… I always want John I was told by three different people world… there’s a bus in your area of their own taxicabs them… at all you need to do use use as you transportation that this… Mike that this wasn’t me… ones… when he was fifty Richie spotted his dream car… 1964 Chevy Impala SS… workers convince the owner to sell fifteen years later… it’s still refuse wrong… if the bass ago gave him a certain degree of freedom… car I think gve him… great amount of independence and pract… when he’s in there car… care myself saying… in truth reduce entire life has been one remarkable study… in engineering… thanks for the food bank for the game fair after… you for america about on I’m… like God home… nearly every tens requires ingenuity… I can’t say the same thing that I can’t be I don’t I don’t know there’s a whole… lot in life period… I could say that I can t just things that haven’t done yet… that attitude carried Richie to his current job… at Hendricks… I think I had about 20 resumes that I went through before I… settled on Richie’s I knew he could do… the things that I needed him to do it was more a question of how… we’ve got a few updates or making to this fixture to make some other parts… more durable and a more just more than is currently… we sat down and he showed me how he works on the computer and how does this… design were… I write with my right hand you write with your left hand he happens to rate… with his feet… workers initial internship with Hendrick was supposed to last… 10 months… eight years and five championships later… still here… how do you get through your day… they get from one place to another… one tense to the next… don’t ask Richie Barker… he’s already moving on down the road just never satisfied… it’s what drives me I don’t know where it comes from… sometimes it kinda drives me crazy but tower… live my life”

You might think this is something that doesn’t occur very often, but I’m here to tell you that every day I’m online, searching for hearing loss related content to share on our SayWhatClub Facebook page, I encounter not one, but many videos like the one above.

Some days the captions are so badly worded that it’s funny — Rhett and Link make funny “Caption Fail” videos out of poor quality YouTube captions…

And, yes, those of us who are deaf can agree, there is some humor to be enjoyed from “craptioned” videos and TV.

However, other days it becomes so frustrating to be excluded over and over and over, I’m forced to tears.


So what’s a person to do?

Advocate!  Advocate!  Advocate!  Ask and you might receive, but if you don’t ask, you won’t.

There are over 40 million of us in the U.S. alone who need captions. Worldwide that number jumps to over 360 million, and we all have people who love us, so multiply that number several times and you’re over a billion.

Be the one person who makes advocating for captioning in your community, and online, a focus. When you do it every day, out of habit, it need not take a lot of time and you might get some amazing results. I promise.

Even if you’re not deaf or hard of hearing, you probably know of someone who is, and it’s usually someone you love.  Please, ask for quality captions so you can share a video with your loved one without frustrating them. It’s makes the world a better place and helps so many who want access to everything a person without a barrier has access to.

Imagine a world without barriers.  Isn’t it beautiful?



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