Types of Live Captioning Internationally

February 26, 2017 Comments Off on Types of Live Captioning Internationally

Greetings all Captioning Users, Providers, and Many Others who know the value of access and inclusion,  

Here’s a message I shared in two good groups today. I hope it’s of interest to you and comments welcome (discussion, questions, corrections, suggestions). It’s an international short summary.

Hello All –

Re Qwerty – we have always suggested Qwerty keyboards and finding a very experienced “Fast Typist” for areas where there is little hope (yet) of finding a steno-live-captioning provider. For example, the Swedish brothers who do live event captioning (CART, STT) all over Europe for major meetings produce close to (if not 99.9%) full verbatim text. They are unusual though. They also have some special software they use, though I have never been able to find out exactly what that is.
A “regular” typist can serve, yet as someone said, it can vary enormously on how much of the needed full words, or even the full “meaning” gets across to the folks who need it.
Steno captioning is not the only full verbatim – just to list for those who may not be so familiar with all this, in other countries there are machines called Palantype and also Velotype which are “steno-like” machines but with differences. They produce full verbatim text.
And now in many countries, especially in USA, Italy and perhaps UK also (not sure) there is Voice Writing – also called Re-Speaking. A trained captioner speaks into an automatic STT system (e.g. Dragon products) and this, with the required software, produces Live Event Captioning also (and full verbatim). They can correct any errors (just as do the steno-caption providers if errors happen).
All above in the ideal world of course. And in the USA and other countries, there are many less than full verbatim providers as mentioned,  from “note-takers” to C-print and Typewell and more.
In terms of when and where and for whom “less than verbatim” is acceptable – I would frame that as follows —  for media, less than full verbatim is often required. For students with different learning profiles,  for live captioning in the classroom, even for media also, it’s said that some learn better with less than full verbatim.
Media today is often “live” also – live online – and as a “hybrid” experience (broadcast and also live and needing live event captioning) – less than full verbatim may serve, and yet…it may not.
My personal view (which many others agree with, but not all by far) is that full verbatim speech to text is our standard of excellence in most situations. I cringe when less than full verbatim is said to be “as good as” because I think ALL people everywhere deserve to have full verbatim for fully “equal communication access.” Yes, in some situations it’s not the first choice, agreed also.
Full verbatim text boosts literacy. It’s not only for people who are hard of hearing and deaf – it serves many others in many situations. You have the full transcript afterwards. If full verbatim is a high goal or bar for some, it’s something we don’t want to remove from choices offered to all.
Your mews about some different services provided in the Scandinavian countries is good to read. Two things:
a. for newcomers, the term “interpretation” is often used in Europe for what we call “captioning providers or live subtitles or speech to text” – yes, the same word as is used for sign language “terps.”
b. Also, in all the countries mentioned regarding access for that conference, the government offers annual funding for captioning where needed – funding for any individual who meets the eligibility requirement of hearing loss/deafness — a certain number of hours or amount of funding – for the individual to use as s/he chooses. In the USA we have no parallel resource for individual citizens.
Similar benefits exist for all deaf/hoh in the Netherlands, and Germany, and perhaps other areas, though the number of hours provided vary.
There’s a lot of development needed globally to train more providers, and to fund technical systems, and to become inclusive in all of life with quality captioning.



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