Policy & Legislation

Student campaigns for real time captions at school

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Earlier this month high school senior Delanie Harrington delivered a petition of 1,900 signatures to the Poway Unified School District Board of Education in San Diego California asking for real time captioning in the classroom.

Real time captions provide equal access to education by offering a rolling transcript of a teacher’s voice. They are created by a professional captioner working in a remote location, who coverts an audio feed into text. While the school district makes American Sign Language interpreters available, as Harrington does not use sign language she requires captions.


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Lack of records hampers captioning complaint decision

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The broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was unable to make a judgement on a complaint about delayed captions on Da Vinci’s Demons on FX+2 due to a lack of records.

The complaint alleged that the captions were displaying considerably behind the dialogue on the +2 hours version of the program broadcast on 4 May 2013 on Foxtel. The investigation by the ACMA showed that although Foxtel was able to demonstrate that the original broadcast of the program two hours earlier was error-free and that it had no internal log of any problems on the plus 2 hours version, it did not have a copy of the program as transmitted and therefore could not show that there was no error.


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UK moves to measure live captioning

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The UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom has announced that it will require television broadcasters to measure the quality of live captioning (known as ‘subtitling’ in the UK).

Live captioning refers to when the captions are created as the program goes to air. These are generally less accurate than captions created ahead of time.

Ofcom’s new approach follows extensive consultation with consumer groups, broadcasters and access suppliers and is part of Ofcom’s effort to comprehensively review the quality of live captioning and identify ways in which it can be improved. The measurement program will start later this year and requires samples to be analysed every six months for a period of two years.


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Captions improve learning: study

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A case study conducted at San Francisco State University has found that student test scores and levels of comprehension improve when captions are turned on in university classrooms.

While captions are normally associated with providing access to videos for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired, there is growing evidence that they have literacy and learning benefits for everyone.


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