The growing power of the internet is creating great opportunities for innovative services that improve access. Remote captioning is one such service. It allows deaf and hard of hearing people to follow what is being said, as it is being said, without the need for a Speech to Text Reporter (STTR) or electronic note-taker to be in the same room.
It works by an STTR or electronic note-taker listening to what is being said using either a telephone or internet system such as Skype. They type what they hear and this text appears on a secure internet service so it can be read. The text can be displayed on a laptop, large screen, smart phone or tablet, enabling deaf and hard of hard of hearing people to participate actively in education, the workplace and at events.
The additional benefit is that because it doesn’t require the actual STTR to be present, it is more flexible and discreet, whilst providing the same result.
A few providers of remote captioning are beginning to emerge. Ai-Media was one of the first, and this is the service that Hearing Link uses for staff meetings.
To use remote captioning, there should be no need to download software or purchase equipment. All you need is a connection to the internet – and via this you log onto the provider’s secure website. At the end of the session, the text can be saved into a Word document providing an immediate and accurate record of everything that has been said.
Ai-Media explains ‘Remote Captioning can be used in a huge variety of places, including business meetings and educational lectures. It really opens up opportunities and makes life easier for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.’
International Captioning Campaign
An international campaign is being run by an organisation called Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC), to raise awareness of captioning/STTR in theatres and elsewhere. They have produced a subtitled short video in association with service users and they have asked as many people as possible to disseminate it.
Video thanks to Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning.