Captioning and Listening

February 13, 2011 Comments Off on Captioning and Listening

There was an impressive short interview with Ellie Wiesel in the NYTimes (IHT) the other day, where he speaks about modern technologies, e.g. the world “bearing witness” to the events in Egypt and elsewhere. And he also wonders if such quick text messages (almost real time text we might say) and instant viewing of events is hampering or dampening listening.

I’m struck by the importance of this. Why you may ask?

Life is all about communications and relationships. For those many of us interested in the concepts of “language” and “deaf” and “hearing” differences, communications and relationships are surely “big” topics.

I’ve been part of “online” communications and relations for many years –  emails and newer forms of communications of all sorts online (chats, groups, lists, videos, blogs, vlogs, etc.) The speed and formats of much of this online “text” have obvious advantages, and potential disadvantages – along with the “anonymity” involved. The concept of “listening” becomes a most interesting concept. Because even with text, one needs to listen carefully. What does that mean?
For our deaf, deafened, and hoh selves and others, how do we “listen”? One way is to find time — to read, and more time to “listen,” and even then, it takes even more time to think, and to understand, and understanding often needs more emails again, more text, more time, more questions and discussion. I’m talking here about text communications obviously. (There are other forms of communications such as tactual, and signs, yet modern communications are very much text-based.)
A push for much more inclusion of captioning is part of the new world of vital communications and relationships – of global telecommunications, instant messages, and social media, including the forum for CCAC members,.the ccacblog for public input, and the ccac social media for additional exchange and learning. We can also “chat” real time anytime with chat systems.
Many “categories of life” need captioning and listening. Captioning inclusion in many situations will be using some form of modern telecommunications to provide quality captioning, be it in schools, work, government, medical centers, etc.
Captioning inclusion – real-time speech- to- text, in English or your own first language, and in translation and interpretation for other languages, including sign language by the way — is what CCAC advocates for. We need inclusion of speech to text universally. This will take more discussion, and actions including listening and learning to understand the full need.
The concept of listening seems timely. Captioning and listening.
Lauren E Storck, PhD, Advocate for Accessibility Equality
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