TheRealSharon's Blog

Closed Captioned is a term I am very familiar with. I grew up with an older brother who was deaf, or hearing impaired so our televisions were always equipped with closed captioning devices. Other people may be more familiar with the idea of subtitles but it’s basically the same thing.

Even now when I watch shows or movies, I have closed caption on. I don’t need it but there are just sometimes when people mumble or maybe talk indistinctly when I would like the clarification that closed captioning can possibly provide. And I also love being able to see the lyrics to a new song for the first time….good way to learn the song faster. Every time I come across something that isn’t closed captioned…it makes me sad. Not for myself because obviously I can still enjoy it even if some of the words may be misinterpreted by my ears. It makes me sad for people like my brother who will not be able to enjoy the movie or the show that I am enjoying. Sure, he can read lips, but words aren’t always said in movies with the actor’s lips facing you.

But even closed captioning isn’t always the best way to find out about a movie….it can have errors, that’s for sure! Some of them are often comical to me, but then I start wondering, what do deaf people think of us when they read these captions? Do they think we are insane?

I have caught captions where the “typee” has substituted a totally different word than the one that was said….I have seen the captions completely gone haywire and reduced to utter gibberish, ex. aglkghegfdbgfsdd <—-I’m NOT joking!

I have seen shows where the captioning has gone from perfect to backwards. Ex: Has gone from perfect to backwards where the captioning I have seen shows. <—Again, I am serious. My husband and me came across this recently where I was reading it aloud and literally cracking up so hard I thought I might fall on the floor!

I have watched things where the captioning was really early….like on a results show where I knew the winner before they even announced it!….I have also seen captions really late where whoever was typing was trying to catch up and by doing so, left out sentences to get caught up. It’s no wonder to me how my brother sometimes words things differently when writing or typing. What kind of example does he have? Not to mention, the way everyone online speaks in codes and shorthand? Why should I be surprised????

You would think this would be the end of the mistakes I have found, but no. Far from it….Imagine watching a movie where they tried to bleep out the bad words or they voiced over a NEW word over the bad one? Well….sometimes the captioning doesn’t reflect that and the bad word is still shown. Imagine your kid asking why the captioning is cussing when the show isn’t!

And picture watching a news show where the captioning tells you people are against a dog….when it’s really a story where people are against God…..I mean, I know dyslexics sometimes see things this way…but what if you’re just deaf and NOT dyslexic and words are getting jumbled and put backwards like this? Why are people against this dog?

Or what about left out words? You might get a call from a deaf family member that just saw on the news where there was a bomb in school……when it was really just a bomb “threat” but the captioners just accidentally left the “threat” out? Do YOU see what I mean?

Imagine watching a show about a newborn being born where the captioning is behind and it goes to commercial. It’s an AT&T cell phone commercial but since the captions are behind, you are seeing cell phones while the caption is saying something of this nature: “I gave birth to a strapping 8 pound, 5 ounce baby boy and I couldn’t have been happier.” Hmmm…..Cell phones are really getting weird with their marketing strategies, aren’t they? Oh…and here’s a Colgate commercial where they are offering Iphones for $50 if you sign up now for AT&T!

I’m really thinking whoever does these closed captioned or subtitle writing jobs needs to work on it just a little harder, please…..Maybe the hearing people are just fine with poor writing but there are a lot of hearing impaired people who are having to deal with the messed up job of reading it! Which is why I think CC has come to stand more for Can’t Comprehend!

What do YOU think? Do you have an opinion about this? Maybe you don’t have a deaf family member or friend but you can try to imagine from their stand point at least.

et cetera
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