Captioning Awareness Week (CAW) is run by a British charity, StageText with a purpose to raise awareness of captioning and live subtitles, and reaching out to those who may not be aware of the fantastic benefits they offer.
I’m so passionate about captions and equal access, especially with my #SubtitledCinema campaign, and Captioning Awareness Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of captions, especially within the D/deaf community.
There are two main types of captions; open and closed. You can see their differences when they are displayed and used.
When open captions are on a screen, everyone can see them and there is no way to turn them off. This is seen at subtitle screenings in cinemas/movie theatres.
Another type of open caption is a Live Speech caption. The Text Reporter/Palantypist/Captioner types live dialogue in a meeting, presentation or speech. The captions are projected onto a screen.
Closed captions are controlled by the user, who can turn them on/off (usually with the CC button). There is often an option to switch languages too.
A key example is when watching Television, or on YouTube. If the YouTuber provides proper closed captions for their viewers, it will show up as a language. If not, there will be ‘auto-captions’, or as Deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter calls them; ‘auto-craptions’ (as these are operated by voice recognition and aren’t accurate).
Rikki is an incredible advocate for captions! Her #NoMoreCraptions campaign aims to encourage YouTubers to caption their video, so D/deaf people don’t have to read the bad auto-captions that YouTube provides.
Closed captions are also on social media channels. Also, Subtitle Glasses which have been introduced in some theatres are closed captioned, as only the viewer wearing the glasses can see the captions.
You can learn more about open and closed captions in Jessica Flores’ video.
Captions are a lifeline for most D/deaf people. They provide a way for people to understand and follow dialogue and audio. Captions benefit everyone, not just the D/deaf community! They’re educational, resourceful and help to improve grammar and understanding of languages. Captions are good for other disabilities, people with learning difficulties, those whose first language is not English and so on.
Without captions, those who use them can miss out on conversations, discussions, storylines and it can be quite isolating knowing they don’t feel included.
Captioning has a long way to go to make all content fully accessible, but you can play your part too! If you haven’t tried captioning, why not give them a go?
You can contact your favorite YouTubers, organizations, services and ask them to caption their videos.
When you go to cinemas/theatre or have a meeting, ask for captions with maximum understanding.
Spread the word about how incredible they are! The more awareness, the better. Plus… captions make your organization/content more accessible and will potentially give you a bigger audience reach and puts you higher up in the search algorithms!
Keep posted for my next blog on HearingLikeMe which gives you the ultimate guide on how to access captions anywhere and everywhere!
If you have anything you’d like to share about captions, please comment below!