Fun Foto Friday!

Posted by Emma on April 30, 2010 at 10:17 am. Fun Word Friday

Thursday, April 22nd, some CaptionMax employees attended the Lifeworks 24th Annual Celebration. We were happy to celebrate and honor those who have triumphed over adversity and those who have championed causes for people with disabilities. Enjoy some of the fun photos that they took at the event. What a fun celebration!

(Max & Suzanne Duckler)

(Liz & Andre Fritz)

(Mike Walters, our guest of honor,  and Shawn Schueller)

(Showing off the CaptionMax ad.)

(Rubin Latz & Kyle Murray)

(Stephanie & Dave Hammergren)

(Mike & Kyle. Having a great time.)

CaptionMax-ian Walks for Babies

Posted by Emma on April 28, 2010 at 8:12 am. Captioners

by Maridelle Hannah

This past Saturday on a rare cloudy and foggy day in Los Angeles my husband, family and I woke up way too early for a weekend and headed out to Exposition Park in Los Angeles.  We were there to participate in the March of Dimes, March for Babies in memory of our twins, Kennedy and Drew, who were born prematurely a few months ago.  The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

For the past month or so, my husband and I have been asking for donations via email, Facebook, and in person.  I asked so many times on Facebook that I received a spam warning from them!  We collected money from family, friends, co-workers and even a stranger whose name just showed up one day on our sponsor sheet.  (Thank you stranger!)

We didn’t know what to expect.  By reading blogs, the two main tips I discovered were 1) don’t wear a new pair of shoes and 2) bring tons of tissues.  So we walked up to the registration table to turn in our donations.  As I filled in the dollar amount, the volunteer asked my total.  “It’s our first time.  We have $2,915.  Is that a lot?”  Turns out it IS a lot.  I was awarded a “Top Walker” cap that I proudly wore the entire walk.

It took us a whole two hours to walk the 3 mile route but we weren’t embarrassed by our finish time.  My family and I spent that two hours talking, laughing, crying, and enjoying the time together.  My husband and I reflected about how despite such an unlucky situation, we’ve been lucky in so many other ways.

And right when we crossed the finish line, the sun came out.

The March of Dimes spends 76¢ of every dollar you raise in March for Babies to support research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives. Join the conversation and learn more by visiting March for Babies or Maridelle’s personal donation page.

Elaine Dechter

Posted by Max Duckler on April 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm. Captioning, Consumer Advisory Board, Video Description

With great sadness we are reporting that Elaine R. Dechter passed away on April 15, 2010.

Elaine was CaptionMax’s first Consumer Advisory Board member—back in 1997.

Elaine was one of the most passionate supporters of captioning there ever was.  She spent her time as a captioning advocate, raising awareness on a local level, where all great grassroots efforts start, in Santa Rosa, CA.  There, she promoted and eventually succeeded in her efforts to bring captioned movies to the screens of Northern California. She was also the Secretary and Treasurer for the Redwood Empire Center on Deafness.

With CaptionMax, Elaine worked with serious intent helping us develop our guidelines and stylebook, most of which we still follow today.  Her honest feedback and straightforward critiques were a pleasure to receive at the 10 board meetings she attended.   Elaine never missed a board meeting with us, which for her, meant leaving the house at 4AM, arriving in MN at 10PM and then taking the same travel home the day after the meeting.  She was always accompanied by her awesome companion dog, Tawny, until recently when Tawny retired and Norene took on the job.

Elaine took great pride in the other passions in her life, her daughter Ilana, her incredible skills in knitting—which she shared with the community through classes she gave on advanced kitting techniques, and of course her love of Northern California…”Max, when are you going to move the business to Sonoma County?  You’ll be close to the vineyards and the ocean—all the things you love so much!”

Elaine was not only a warm, caring, passionate supporter of CaptionMax, she was a dear friend to me and many other staff members.

Memorial services being held April 25, 10AM at Daniel’s chapel of the Roses, Santa Rosa, CA.

Please post your comments and memories of Elaine below.

Thank you,


Fun Word Friday!

Posted by Emma on at 8:58 am. Fun Word Friday

Welcome to Fun Word Friday!

Here are some of our favorite words from this week:

Crepuscular: Of, relating to, or resembling twilight; occurring or active during twilight. “Cats are crepuscular and nocturnal.”

Abseil: British word for “rappel”

Pusillanimous: (lacking in courage or strength of purpose) just sounds funny and derisive and insulting.

Pabulum: (1) food; especially a suspension or solution of nutrients in a state suitable for absorption, (2) intellectual sustenance, (3) something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland

Puerile: Juvenile, childish, silly

A Celebration of Deaf History Month

Posted by Emma on April 14, 2010 at 8:00 am. Captioning, Subtitling

CaptionMax has learned a lot this Deaf History Month (March 13 – April 15), and we’ve posted what we’ve learned. As we approach the end of this celebratory month, we’d like to recap all of what we learned and pass along some of our favorite websites. It’s been such a fun month of reading and research. If you have any additions, please add them to our comments!

CaptionMax Blog
We started this month with an excellent blog about Jim Marsters written by Jay Wyant. Jay recapped Marsters’ amazing contributions to deaf culture, including the TTY and modern relay services. Jay acknowledged the continuing impact Marsters’ work has on current efforts to make telecommunications accessible: “Such change is only possible because of leading visionaries like Jim Marsters, an uncontroversial radical.”

Next we talked to Max about why he started CaptionMax and how he continues to advocate for accessible media. If you’ve never heard the story about CaptionMax’s beginning, then this is the story for you!

After that we learned about some amazing inventions by deaf people.  Deaf people are doing pioneering work in all fields, from science to sports. We wonder what will come next? Is there anything that we didn’t list that should have been included in our article?

Lastly, an audio describer ventured into captionland. Do you know what it takes to be a captioner? Brains, strength, and grammer smarts are just three qualities!

Interesting Websites to Watch
We’ve also visited a number of sites to learn more about deaf history, the American Sign Language, and continual calls of action to the deaf community.

1. DCMP’s Deaf History Resource
- Check out movies about deaf history.
- Take a quiz on the history of captioning.

2. The Deafness Blog
- A great repository of information.

3. Gallaudet University
- The first university designed to provide advanced education to deaf and hard of hearing students.

4. Learning American Sign Language (ASL)
- ASL is a visual, living language that continues to grow and change.
- Learn some new signs!

Our first year of blogging about deaf history has been a success. What would you like to see us investigate or promote for next years blogs? We can’t wait to start planning!

Marlee Matlin’s My Deaf Family “Pilot”

Posted by CLeininger on April 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm. Captioning, Movies, Video Description, YouTube

We are so happy that over 4,000 people have watched His Girl Friday and are getting exposed to quality audio description and captioning.

Even more exciting is what we were able to accomplish this Thursday. The amazingly talented, creative, and busy actress and activist Marlee Matlin produced a pilot for a new series, My Deaf Family. To add accessibility for ALL, Marlee allowed us to add audio description to her pilot and host it on our YouTube channel. In one single day, we received the video, captioned it, audio described it, proofed it thoroughly, and posted a fully accessible version on our YouTube channel.  How amazing is that!

We posted it here for all of our blog readers to enjoy. We also have some links under the video where you can learn more about Marlee Matlin and her activism. She is truly an inspiration for all of us. Thank you, Marlee, for letting us support and promote your project!

More About Marlee Matlin:
1. NPR News: Why Isn’t Marlee Matlin’s ‘My Deaf Family’ on Television?
2. Captioning Advocate Marlee Matlin Visits Google
3. Follow Marlee Matlin on Twitter
4. Marlee Matlin on Wikipedia

An Audio Describer Ventures into Captionland!

Posted by CLeininger on April 7, 2010 at 8:42 am. Captioning, Subtitling, Video Describers

by Kate Schlagel

CaptionMax gets busy! Even after putting in hours of overtime, our expert captioners still find themselves up to their ears in work. To help cover the load, audio describers are asked to bring their skills to the world of closed captioning. They always step up to the plate. This is Kate’s story of venturing into Captionland.

With excitement and a little trepidation, I left the AD world of “describe what you see” and set out for Captionland. Though I had done a little transcribing during audio description slumps, I had only a vague idea of what captioning entailed. All I knew was that captioners recorded and timed dialogue. Thoughts filled my head as I began my journey to the unknown. “I don’t know how to time captions!” “What if I can’t understand what is said?” “I don’t remember what a comma splice is!” I was in trouble.

Upon arrival, I soon found that Captionland was not as scary I thought it would be. Captioners are very kind to visitors. They were extremely helpful, understanding, and friendly. Their constructive feedback helped me to understand their complicated world of grammar, punctuation, and timing. During my relatively short visit to Captionland, I learned a lot about life as a captioner and gained a new level of respect for the work they do. Here are just a few things I learned about it.

It’s physical!

I have been working at CaptionMax for four years and have written dozens of college papers, but never have my forearms burned as badly as they did when I was captioning. Even with help from a foot pedal, my wrists and arms screamed for mercy at every long-winded rant or fast-paced exchange they had to record. After years of this work, I imagine captioners must have their shirts tailored and their bracelets resized to accommodate their rockhard forearms and muscular wrists.

They’ve got grammar smarts.

The fact that they have a multipage manual on grammar and punctuation says it all. While in Captionland, I didn’t add a comma or put anything in italics unless I consulted the captioning bible. They know parts of speech that haven’t even been invented yet! My visit almost made me want to revisit my high school grammar classes for a refresher…almost.

Come again?

As mentioned before, I come from a world of “describe what you SEE.” As an audio describer, I’m used to listening closely to dialogue, but captioning took my ear muscles to a whole new level. Between Mark Cooper’s mumbling and Martin Lawrence’s slurred slang, my ears were working overtime. This concluded my long-term suspicion that captioners are superhumans who can decipher any phrase regardless of clarity, speed, volume, or pitch. Not only that, but they’re highly trained specialists who can tap the “time-in” key as soon as their ears pick up a certain syllable.

Superhuman hearers with ear-hand coordination? What more could a company ask for? Since my visit, I have returned to the wonderful world of Audio Description, where I can rest my weary forearms and let my creative juices flow freely. Thank you, captioners, for a great time. Perhaps I’ll visit again sometime. Until then, happy typing!

Fun Word Friday!

Posted by Emma on April 2, 2010 at 8:33 am. Fun Word Friday

Welcome to Fun Word Friday!

Here are some of our favorite words from this week:

Whelm: to cover or engulf completely, usually with disastrous effect.

Susurration: whispering, murmuring, or rustling.

Spanghew: to cause a frog or toad to fly up in the air. To throw a frog in the air.

Penny-farthing: an old-fashioned kind of bicycle with a huge front wheel.

Neologist: one who makes up new words.



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