Don’t Leave Us Out! Captioning Counts!

March 30, 2017 Comments Off on Don’t Leave Us Out! Captioning Counts!

This blogpost has now disappeared from a U.S. Government page – it was published in 2012 and it still is one of our best articles for captioning advocacy. Hope you like it. CCAC is now 7 years old – time flies. The article below is not changed from 2012 however. Lots has been successfully accomplished since 2012 – enjoy recent posts and also updates on the CCAC website. Blog, for 13 June, 2012, by invitation, including Video, “Don’t Leave Us Out!”



“Don’t Leave Us Out” rings familiar bells with all of us living with “disability.” For a huge and richly-diverse population – mega-millions of us with hearing loss and people who are deafened or deaf – it signifies a struggle for a visible identity, and asserts an urgent and vital need for inclusion of quality captioning everyday and universally.

Captioning inclusion? What are you talking about, cartoons?

We are talking about a disturbing gap in communication access for millions of people who cannot hear well or are deaf, who speak, and most of whom do not use sign language. We are also speaking about captioning needs among millions of others with different language and learning needs. Captioning is a “language” that is way beyond one line of text under a photo, much more than few words in a funny cartoon, and is not merely a transcript or another page of text, but is an equivalent experience of listening via reading captioning. This is called equal access.

We are talking about inclusion of quality speech-to-text. Call it translation, interpreting, reporting, transcription, or plain talking. Speech-to-text is the real-time conversion of speech and sounds to visual words, done with high accuracy and immediately. We need captioning when we speak together with others, in person or via media and technologies.  Literacy is important in our lives, since we read all the words, and captioning is vital as our receptive language. Communication access is most of life.

It’s time to move away from an embedded concept that thinks about so many as dumb mute, or daft; or assumes most people who are deaf or have a hearing loss use signing. We are deaf also – or live with hearing loss – we speak and need captioning.    

Don’t you read lips? …why don’t you use sign language? …did you turn on your hearing aids? …don’t you know that implants cure deafness now?”

Instead of those questions, it’s past time for us to be asked –

Is the captioning turned on? …is the size and background readable for you? …do you need a real-time verbatim captioning professional for communication access in school … for job-hunting… at work …for medical consultations… to listen to politicians for informed voting …in the airport…for healthy social activities such as theater and movies? 

Is the automated captioning high quality? Are you guessing what half the sentences are saying due to errors? Is the automatic system making any sense at all? Do you need assistance in convincing public places to provide communication access? How can we promote more awareness and resources for all who need quality captioning?

Forty-eight million people have a hearing loss or deafness in the USA, with millions more around the world. Most have established relationships that depend on oral communications, yet they do not hear enough to comprehend the many voices in everyday human experiences. Sometimes, it takes years to find captioning inclusion.

There is some progress, yet it’s still patchy and slow. In many regions and most arena of everyday life, it requires repeated requests, a legal assault, or years of legislative discussion. Much media on the Internet is not captioned.

Captioning is lacking at town meetings (real-time captioning), in schools, for weddings and funeral, in theaters and museums, and for jury boxes. The bottom line is a huge waste of educated, talented, and creative citizens who are excluded due to lack of captioning inclusion.  

Most people using aids, implants and other technologies also need captioning for much of everyday life, especially all group communications, in small to large groups, for training and employment, participation in their communities, and much more.

Headlines tell us that boomers are living longer and teenagers are losing hearing due to loud music and noise in modern life. Other news tells us about new systems and machine translations. Keep in mind these systems are for one person talking to his or her device. They are not useful for actual human conversations. Captioning professionals, along with improved systems, are required now, and always will be, for decades to come, due to the significance and variety of modern human communication needs.    

Why spend the money? Why pay for electricity, clean water, and ramps for mobility access? Communication access via captioning is a human right and a civil obligation.  

VIDEO HERE – Go to CCAC webpage →> 


CCAC, created December 2009, has grown into a membership organization of significant numbers. (It becomes an official non-profit in 2012). Volunteers advocate regularly, as well as reaching out to educate via the website and other CCAC resources (  The focus is grass-roots advocacy for captioning where none exists now.

CCAC is not a deaf or hearing loss group, since captioning also provides bottom-line benefits for millions who are not deaf.  It creates an immediate record (transcript), allows language translations, and maximizes online search functions.

CCAC salutes all organizations working on captioning issues among larger diverse goals, and invites all to come together in the CCAC to share information, push forward more captioning advocacy, and accomplish the mission – inclusion of quality captioning universally. CCAC is a hub and meeting place.

New members and concrete support are always welcome. CCAC advocacy accomplishments in two short years are significant, stemming from membership discussions in the online working community. For two examples only, a huge national organization for older adults has begun inclusion of captioning for all webinars online thanks to CCAC member advocacy; and a regional theater accomplished inclusion via theater captioning thanks to energetic advocacy by another CCAC member with good local collaborations.

The newest CCAC advocacy project, the video above, makes its debut on this site. We invite you to place it on your own blogs and websites soon. If you do, let us know and we’ll say thanks. Don’t leave us out!

Lauren E. Storck, Ph.D. Founder and President, Collaboration for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC),


As it says on top, this article is unedited from five years ago. Much has been accomplished since then for access and inclusion with quality captioning, and there is so much more to do.

We need you! Join today –  as an all volunteer community, new voices and energies are always valuable. If the suggested donation is a hardship for any captioning user/consumer, tell us and it’s waived. If a hardship for providers or students of captioning – let’s talk on emails soon.  

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