A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

“Transcribe Audio”, by Michele Linder

In captions, Closed Captioning, Hearing Loss, internet videos on September 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I subscribe to the “Now Norma Knits” blog.  Norma is not only “one L short of normal” (Love it! Makes me want to change my name to “Norma” just so I can say that about myself), she also knits (pretty obvious from the title of her blog), is a self-professed organic gardner and locavore (thank you, Merriam-Webster), is interested in travel, and is a CART provider by vocation.

On Monday, August 29th, Norma wrote in her blog about the flooding in Vermont and included an embedded video of Weather Channel’s, Jim Cantore, saying “Jim Cantore rather sums up the feelings here (in Vermont).”

I pressed the arrow to play, and low and behold was the red cc (closed caption) button to turn captions on!!  I clicked the button, chose “Transcribe Audio”, and sat back to listen to, or rather read, Jim’s summation of the feelings in Vermont.

Below is the closed captions for this particular video, each line representing each screen with text, as it progressed from beginning to end.

the…

mrs…

sizzler…

basis…

discusses his oral roberts and i think that’s that’s long into the sunset i… think find alonso…

origination and resistance i have about his own reason i suppose listener…

essentially…

houses there and for the delivery error packages as you…

I had to several years was an important issue are an absolute barbara once…

you’re done you know…

equities is are needed…

parasitic…

he’s almost online and we have up which is that i have been across…

dozens of times and i’d like to use your own there’s the hostile and heavily…

emerged today…

sinuses also grief…

fans disastrously wednesday…

r_t_c…

flown off in the university of utah either of those although antes up there…

you just anxious…

sonal caldwell and say yes it is intended for andre rieu…

the peripherals and hear professional heart…

as up…

at issue in the nazi…

people here…

uh… well said…

rather act…

obviously someone died after a long period…

new jersey for everyone…

absolutely miserable anything has been going on to other states you’re still…

interested in foster’s death for us to bear on uses your data to marketplace…

book initial pennsylvania all across…

camera crews…

role of dvd just preferred…

or even if they could be meeting to order flowers for katy…

this is not so just saying…

excuse few seconds partially historical read a lot…

working on them…

healers and talk about me…

they’re all intact…

on the issue…

literary resented are his chances for me…

as also…

five also bosses…

says a lot sooner…

finally report…

no sign of progress…

excessive gas…

people…

is rooted continues so back to you…

Wow, so glad this video was captioned!  I never would have known what Jim Cantore was saying had it not been!  NOT!!

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  1. This would be hilarious if it were not so sad. It truly almost made me cry. The transcribing feature is a useless piece of crap. And the worst part is– They are getting away with saying that they’re accommodating the deaf and hard-of-hearing because they offer it. I wonder who made the decision to buy this technology? I wonder if he/she ever really did much research on it? Or ever tried to use it? In a perfect world anyone responsible for the decision to buy the transcribing tools would be instantly struck deaf.

    • Yes, mistakes in captioning can be funny, but I no longer find online videos that are captioned in this fashion funny at all — especially on the day I undertook this little project, as I had watched countless news videos, wanting real information, as we are a household with TV. I actually was online looking for info about the Vermont flooding, because my daughter lives in Waitsfield, VT where the Mad River flows, and was overflowing. Though Kate didn’t experience any flooding at her house, she couldn’t get out,and others couldn’t get in, for a short time.

      I decided to transcribe the captioning on this video just to see if I could glean something from its content when looking at it as a whole… it was even more ridiculous to read that way, and it REALLY didn’t make any sense at all. This is such a waste. If someone is going to work to come up with voice recognition software, surely they can come up with something better than this? If not, why bother, as this type of captioning is not helping anyone.

      • Michele, I laughed out loud at your comment at the end of the blog. I have been there and done that SO MANY times and the frustration reaches boiling point when some important information is at stake. I related to your feelings re your daughter – my son and his new wife went to New Zealand in February for their honemoon and on the day of their arrival was a massive earthquake, so I was in much the same position as you trying to find out if they were ok etc. I am currently staying in the Alpine Region here (snow country in Australia). The television is digital and should receive captions but does not. There is provision for captions (a box on the screen but it is blank). The local agents who look after the house have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. I will go home and get in touch with the Australian Caption Centre and see if they know whether some regions are slow (very slow) to have access to captions. I was under the impression that captions came to all households along with digital television which was introduced here some time ago, I thought it was sort of tied in together, that if you received a picture you would also have access to the captions. With my CI I can follow the news and some current affair style programs, but that’s about it. Thanks for your article. Karen

  2. Just wow……….. As Kim said, “sad”…….

  3. It’s sad to miss the poetry, the sarcasm, the message when you can’t hear, and it’s worse to be bitterly disappointed when you see the little CC, click it, and get nonsense instead of real meaning.

    • I think I’ve watched so much online that isn’t captioned at all, or has this type of bad captioning, that I’m beyond disappointed. I’m really mad!! It’s a bit like the boy who cried “Wolf!”… I click the red cc button with very little expectation.

  4. Yes, just as TV captions are almost ready for prime time–have improved greatly over the years, actually–we now have to deal with the internet “captions.” Ridiculous. I bet it takes another decade to straighten THEM out! And you know, hearing people would never put up with this–if the sound went off for five minutes, the stations would hear about it from thousands of people and make sure it never happened again. But us HOH folks sit back and let it slide. Well, not all of us, but the vast majority.

    • I wish the entire civilized world would be made to wear ear plugs for just one day, with no captioning available, and could experience the frustration all of us who are deaf or hard of hearing face on a daily basis.

      It’s hard, Jan… my deaf grandmother died in 1978 and throughout her life, during the time I had the pleasure to observe her, she never had the benefit of any communication access. She rarely watched TV, it was pointless. We’ve progressed to our present state, here in the U.S (we must remember that many countries are still in the dark ages with regard to captioning), leaps and bounds from what was available the year my grandmother died, and we do “sit back and let it slide”, because it’s all we knew and because it’s a habit. We forget we have rights, or maybe we fight and become weary because we see such a snail’s pace to advances?

      What would happen if organizations, broadcasters, and companies, instead of being resistant and fighting against accommodations, said, “Ok, let’s appeal to and accommodate the broadest customer/consumer base we can reach.”? I know captioning costs money, but if it were provided without being asked for I think it all would even out in the long run — I know that is a generalization and oversimplification — and might even bring in business from happy people. Why exert so much energy toward a negative? Just decide to do it and work toward something positive! I think it’s this focus on the negative that is causing our country to be so out of balance. Sigh… There I go Utopifying (my word) things. :o)

  5. typical eh! cheers for that tho.

    • Unfortunately, it is typical. You’re welcome!

      • The thing is I feel we could be progessing backwards. Blockbuster and most the major dvd rental stores have gone under to be replaced by Netflix, which is heavily promoting its on-line rental service that captions may one tenth of its movies, and I still can’t figure out how you can tell which of the online rentals are captioned and which ones aren’t. It’s criminal really– I mean really unfair and against the law to not even tell us which ones are or are not captioned!!. Eric and I still get their mail service because that is the only way you can guarantee there will be captions. The only other way to get captions is if I check out a dvd from the library. Last night my son was going to download a great movie!!, he said. He had a Netflix account!! YAY! But it won’t have captions I reminded him. Oh. . . 😦 They watched it without me. Backwards progress.

  6. Kim, it can seem as if we are going backward, but I’ll take 2011 over what was available to my grandmother in 1978. Netflix is a whole other ball of wax. I recently canceled my Netflix because of them splitting their services and charging more for them separately. It just wasn’t worth the higher price for me, as I travel frequently and am not home to watch DVD’s that come to my house. Plus, the only streamed movies on my computer that I could actually count on being subtitled were mostly foreign movies, but even then if a foreign movie contained English dialogue the English portion often wasn’t subtitled. Clearly, the subtitling was not intended for the deaf and hard of hearing. Even after Netflix came out with a way to search titles that were subtitled/captioned (if you scroll down to the bottom of the page there is link to click on for a sortable list of movies that are subtitled), I often found there was no way to turn on the subtitles. There would be a field, “subtitles”, that appeared underneath the screen, but often when you clicked on it nothing happened. I can’t tell you how many movies I would attempt to watch only to find that the subtitles didn’t work. Very frustrating!! The last straw for me was watching “Switched at Birth” and getting hooked on the first three episodes that were subtitled for the hearing impaired, only to find episodes 4 and beyond didn’t have subtitles. Why would I pay $20.00 a month for that? If I could watch anything and everything that is available to a hearing person on Netflix it would be worth it, but I can’t.

    I’m currently looking for a replacement for Netflix, as we don’t have TV at home. If I can’t find anything I may sign up for Direct TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but would like to be able to watch some things. Right now I watch what’s available on hulu and some of the network websites, but many things I’m interested in aren’t available with captions.

  7. I was watching the 9-11 special on CNN and it was supposed to be somber event. Four of us were watching, me with reading the captions and them just listening. I would burst out in laughter at times because the captions were so screwed up. I was sad at the same time because I was laughing at something not meant to be laughed at. I broke out my little laptop and sent an email to CNN to let them know. Eventually I quit watching the special and left the room because it wasn’t meant to be laughed at and I was getting irritated. I haven’t heard back from CNN.

    • Chelle,

      I only watched the 9/11 coverage online and much of it wasn’t captioned. :o( Yes, bad captioning can lead one to laugh out loud when it’s not appropriate. When captioning and subtitling is done right, it blends with what you are watching and the two flow together. When the words don’t make sense and/or there are frequent mistakes, you miss much of what you’re watching and your focus is railroaded by the bad text — I either turn off the captioning or just give up on watching altogether.

  8. Nonya- You would think something like the 9-11 special could be precaptioned so they wouldn’t make many mistakes, considering the nature of the event. I didn’t watch it but understand your frustration.

  9. @Karen Cooper, glad I could give you a good laugh. I get very sarcastic when I’ve been on the computer for a while, trying to find info through news videos, and they either aren’t captioned, have the jumbled YouTube captioning (not sure who else uses the voice to text technology that doesn’t work very well?), and no transcript to the story. I think sarcasm is just one choice… I have been driven tears before. :o)

    I’ve had your experience of staying in countless locations and inquiring of the innkeeper about whether the TV set has captions and/or how to choose them, and many are clueless. Odds are, if the person never uses captions themselves, they won’t know much about them. That’s why it is important for the deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing to always inquire and then complain to the proprietor. Also, we need to not miss those opportunities when we can educate, so make your complaints in a nice way and ask the person to please get up to speed on how to provide captioning on the television sets in their establishment. Cite the number of people with hearing loss (in the U.S. it is approaching 40 million!) in your country, and state that the odds are high that another customer with hearing loss is likely to cross their path soon, so it would be in the interest of providing good customer service for them to familiarize themselves with captioning. Let them know that no captions on the TV is grievous enough for you to take your business to someone who does provide captions.

  10. Oh, Michele! Due to a posting that I saw on Facebook today, I learned about this category in messages called “other” that Facebook has been hiding lots of messages in. Yours, and 60 other important ancient message from people, were buried in there when I went to look. So sorry about that — you thought I had ignored you, I bet.

    Yes, this video captioning thing (on YouTube and other places) is a JOKE. I recently did a script for one of my students of a video that one of his fellow students did for a project at school. My (deaf) student wanted to know what it said. Just for kicks, I ran the YouTube “cc” on it, and it was appalling. I laughed myself silly, because literally NOT ONE WORD was right. So I translated it for him. It’s too bad that it was just a script, and it was not timed with the video and such, but without the right equipment, I don’t have the capability to do “offline captioning” that would be required to make it really captioned.

    Anyway. Boo to Facebook! And boo to that terrible excuse for captioning.

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