What is Captioning?
Captioning is the transcription and subsequent text display of dialog and other auditory information, such as on- and off-screen sound effects, music, and laughter. Captioning is used in many places including videos and films, live performances and demonstrations, lectures, web sites, and television.
Captioning benefits are not limited to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In loud, crowded venues as well as hushed, quite settings, captioned video allows sighted visitors to read what they cannot hear. Captions also benefit new readers and people who are learning English as a second language.136
There are two categories of captions:
CLOSED captions are captions that are hidden in the video signal and are invisible without a special decoder. They are hidden in an area that is called line 21 of the vertical blanking interval (VBI).
OPEN captions are captions that have been decoded, so they have become an integral part of the television picture, like subtitles in a movie. Open captions cannot be turned off. The term "open captions" is also used to refer to subtitles created with a character generator.137
There are three ways that captions can be presented to a viewer:
Roll-up captions are used almost exclusively for live events. The words appear one at a time at the end of the line, and when a line is filled, it rolls up to make room for a new line. Older decoders can only display roll-up captions at the bottom of the screen. Newer ones can place captions wherever the captioner wants them.
Pop-on captions are the standard for pre-taped material. The entire caption appears, all at once, anywhere on the screen. When a pop-on caption appears, all captions previously on the screen are erased.
Paint-on captions are free-form in their positioning, like pop-on captions, but they don't erase what was already on the screen. The name comes from the way they are drawn on the screen a letter at a time, so you can see them "paint on" to the screen. They are not used much yet, except for commercials and special effects.
How are realtime [live] captions generated?139
Realtime [live] captions are performed by stenocaptioners, who are court reporters with special training. They use a special keyboard (called a "steno keyboard" or "shorthand machine") to write what they hear as they hear it. Unlike a traditional "QWERTY" keyboard, a steno keyboard allows more than one key to be pressed at a time. The basic concept behind machine shorthand is phonetic, where combinations of keys represent sounds, but the actual theory used is much more complex than straight phonics.
Stenocaptioners are capable of writing at speeds of up to 250 words per minute, or even faster in short bursts.
The steno keyboard is connected to a computer system where the captioning software formats the stream of steno characters into captions and sends it to a caption encoder. This can be done either directly or through telephone modems.
Methods of captioning140
Please note that a common symptom of poor reception (or technical problems at the TV station) is pairs of missing letters; for example "Good night" might appear as "Good nht". While this may look like a misspelling, it is probably not a problem of sloppy captioning. Rather, poor reception or a technical glitch at the TV station could be the problem.
What Is Braille?
What Does Braille Look Like?
How Was Braille Invented?
How Is Braille Written?
The system used for reproducing most textbooks and publications is known as Grade 2 braille. In this system cells are used individually or in combination with others to form a
variety of contractions or whole words. For example, in Grade 1 braille the phrase you like him requires twelve cell spaces. It would look like this:
If written in Grade 2 braille, this same phrase would take only six cell spaces to write. This is because the letters y and l are also used for the whole words you and like respectively. Likewise, the word him is formed by combining the letters h and m. It would look like this:
There are 189 different letter contractions and 76 short-form words used in Grade 2 braille. These "short cuts" are used to reduce the volume of paper needed for reproducing books in braille and to make the reading process easier.
Grade 1 (or uncontracted) braille has nothing to do with first grade. Most children learn grade 2 (contracted) braille from kindergarten on. In recent years, some teachers have chosen to begin teaching grade 1 braille first, transitioning to grade 2 braille by the mid-elementary years. There is currently no research that supports the superiority of one approach over the other.
Just as printed matter can be produced with a paper and pencil, typewriter, or printer, braille can also be written in several ways. The braille equivalent of paper and pencil is the slate and stylus. This consists of a slate or template with evenly spaced depressions for the dots of braille cells, and a stylus for creating the individual braille dots. With paper placed in the slate, tactile dots are made by pushing the pointed end of the stylus into the paper over the depressions. The paper bulges on its reverse side forming "dots." Because of their portability, the slate and stylus are especially helpful for taking notes during lectures and for labeling such things as file folders.
Braille is also produced by a machine known as a braillewriter. Unlike a typewriter which has more than fifty keys, the braillewriter has only six keys and a space bar. These keys are numbered to correspond with the six dots of a braille cell. In that most braille symbols contain more than a single dot, all or any of the braillewriter keys can be pushed at the same time.
Technological developments in the computer industry have provided and continue to expand additional avenues of literacy for braille users. Software programs and portable electronic braille notetakers allow users to save and edit their writing, have it displayed back to them either verbally or tactually, and produce a hard copy via a desktop computer-driven braille embosser.
Since its development in France by Louis Braille in the latter part of the nineteenth century, braille has become not only an effective means of communication, but also a proven avenue for achieving and enhancing literacy for people who are blind or have significant vision loss. 142
|last reviewed/updated on April 2003|
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