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Flash captioning (was: RE: Javascript alternatives not necessary?)

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 19:59:26 +0000 (UTC)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.60.0407291952150.23311@aristotle.multipattern.com>

> Joe's the expert on captioning.

Why... why, thank you!

> Joe, do people that caption audio presentations include
> all the words or just what they feel is important?

There is no straightforward answer. To summarize some available facts, 

* The British like to edit on the unsupportable basis that 120 wpm is all 
deaf people can handle.

* Studies show captioning viewers can handle >200 wpm for extended 

* The majority of established captioners in the U.S. and Canada aim for 
verbatim captioning. That is not necessarily the case in French.

* Sometimes it is technically impossible to transmit all the spoken words 
in text. In multimedia, that limitation is nearly nonexistent.

* Sometimes there "isn't enough space" for verbatim captioning. That's a 
problem of typography and is usually a dodge, in my experience (e.g., 
same-language subtitles, which are pointless anyway, that are 
ideologically limited to two lines, with the top line shorter than the 

* Real-time captioning always misses words over an extended run.

* At (for example) a sporting event or a political convention or a 
concert, with discernible foreground and background speakers, only 
foreground speakers are captioned (unless there's an unusual pause). 
However, sometimes non-speech information will be rendered (e.g., 
[auctioneer continues calling]) even while foreground speech is captioned. 
Some other exceptional circumstances may arise.

* Even people who are attempting verbatim captioning will edit out 
nonverbal utterances like "um" and "ah."

* Backing vocals, harmonies, and vocal effects are often hard to caption 
(unexpected example: "Closing Time" by Leonard Cohen).

> From my experience they include only what they feel is
> important.

"Feel" is perhaps being unfair. But often, the effect is the same.

> If the information wasn't important why would the speaker
> be saying it?

That's amusing!


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Thursday, 29 July 2004 15:59:34 UTC

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