Skip to content Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons
By Emily Matchar
December 16, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Daniil Frants and his buddies hope to help the hard-of-hearing engage in naturally flowing conversations

It’s a common misconception that most hearing-impaired people can easily read lips. But while many are indeed practiced lip readers, only 30 to 40 percent of English can be understood through watching the mouth. Much of spoken English occurs without lip movement, while many sounds, such as ‘b’ and ‘p,’ look identical.

This leaves many hearing-impaired people at a loss when communicating with the hearing. A number of recent technological innovations attempt to address the issue, from devices that turn spoken language into text on a smartphone to speculative systems to allow deaf people to “hear” through their tongues. That's right—researchers from Colorado State University are developing an earpiece that translates sounds into electrical patterns that it then sends to a retainer.
Read more  . .Watch captioned Video . Closed-Captioning Glasses



By Tammy H. Nam June 23, 2014

Imagine sitting down to watch an episode of the HBO hit series Game of Thrones—and hardly being able to understand anything. That’s the case for non-native English speakers or any of the 36 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Americans. HBO doesn’t expect its viewers to have a knowledge of High Valyrian; that’s why it takes care to offer subtitles to viewers understand exactly how Daenerys intends to free the slaves of Essos.

If only most online streaming companies took as much care in everyday captioning.

Machine translation is responsible for much of today’s closed-captioning and subtitling of broadcast and online streaming video. It can’t register sarcasm, context, or word emphasis. It can’t capture the cacophonous sounds of multiple voices speaking at once, essential for understand the voice of an angry crowd of protestors or a cheering crowd. It just types what it registers. Imagine watching classic baseball comedy Major League and only hearing the sound of one fan shouting from the stands. Or only hearing every other line of lightning-fast dialogue when watching reruns of the now-classic sitcom 30 Rock.

As of April 30, streaming video companies are now required to provide closed captioning. On all programming. There’s no doubt that we’re in a better place than we were even five years ago, when streaming video companies weren’t required to closed-caption any of its content.  But, there still is a long way to go in improving the accuracy of subtitles. Netflix and Amazon Prime users have bemoaned the quality of the streaming companies’ closed captions, citing nonsense words, transcription errors, and endless “fails.” These companies blame the studios for not wanting to pay for accurate translations but excuses aren’t flying with paying streaming video subscribers.



The Hill
By Keith Laing - 06/05/14 03:16 PM EDT

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) wants U.S. airlines to add closed captioning to movies that are shown during long flights in an effort to aid hearing impaired airline passengers. inflight-entertainment

Harkin said he was considering adding an amendment requiring the airline industry to at least study the proposal to a $54 billion funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development during a markup of the measure on Thursday. 

"I have been trying for some time to get the airlines to provide closed captions on the movies on their airplanes. I can't understand why they don't do it. It doesn't cost anything," Harkin said after the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to send the measure to the full of the floor Senate. 

Harkin said the idea of close captioning in-flight movies may seem trivial, but he said it was very important to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

"I have a friend of mine who's deaf who is a lawyer who travels to Europe [who] likes to watch a movie, can't," Harkin said. "The only movie he can watch is a German or a French movie that has English subtitles. But if it's an American movie, it has French subtitles and German subtitles and Chinese subtitles, but not English subtitles."

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New FCC Rules to Improve Quality of TV Closed CaptioningThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved new rules for TV closed captioning that will ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have full access to television programming. The new rules state that all television programming with closed captions must accurately convey dialogue and sounds in the program. Captions must also be timed so that they do not lag behind the program’s dialogue and must not block important information on the screen.

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