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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Consonant deafness, TV subtitles and disability access

Dude Swheatie of Kwug writes:

I believe that a brief anecdote about a mishearing humorously highlights the value of TV subtitles as one form of disability access aid.

I was watching and listening to BBC News on my TV and thought I heard the announcer start a news story about "a group of penguins." But when the reactive subtitles for that story came on in response to what I had heard as 'a group of penguins' it turned out to be about a statement by "the Duke of Cambridge."

When the subtitle creator, whether human or computerised such as the CC button on a youtube video, mishears what is said, it sometimes turns out that what appears on screen as 'torture goal' turns out to be from the spoken word 'Portugal' in a Euro 2016 football game, while what Pat Carmody of the SWP saying the words 'central London' is misheard by youtube's CC device as 'sex London'. On that same youtube video as Pat Carmody at a Public & Commercial Services Union picket of Euston Tower HMRC offices a few years ago the clearest speaker for Google's automatic translation device is Jeremy Corbyn as a central London MP before becoming Labour Party Leader. Corbyn kept a steady head while speaking slowly and clearly into the microphone; not all disability access has to be as elaborate as subtitling.

TV subtitles can be a helpful aid for people who are hard of hearing and / or for people who are deaf but whose history is of aural communication. For others who are completely deaf from birth or from an early age there is sign language in its various forms, such as BSL (British Sign Language) that can also be a great communication aid among those who can communicate in that language when they are in a place that requires silence such as a public library, or to cut out the 'noise pollution' of distracting conversations happening at the same time as agenda-based discussion at a business meeting.

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