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New Apple TV Makes Captions Easier to Activate

Posted by Anna on December 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm. Captioning, Techy
A test pattern with the Apple TV logo on it

A test pattern with the Apple TV logo on it

Apple recently released the newest version of Apple TV, its digital media player and microconsole, with some exciting new features, including universal search and Siri voice integration. Not only can viewers use Siri to control video playback (pause, rewind, fast forward), they can instantly rewind 15 seconds and temporarily turn on closed captions if they’re having trouble hearing the dialogue simply by asking, “What did s/he say?”

An Apple employee demonstrates how to rewind and temporarily turn on closed captions by asking Siri, What did she say?

An Apple employee demonstrates how to rewind and temporarily turn on closed captions by asking Siri, "What did she say?"

This advancement in technology affirms what a lot of people already know: many, MANY hearing people also use closed captions.  Whispered speech, people talking over each other, and blockbuster sound effects can all make determining exactly what is being said extremely challenging. Offline caption editors–and I say this with years of personal experience–sometimes have to hit rewind over and over (AND OVER) again to be able to hear the correct transcription.  Another common reason hearing people choose to use closed captions is because of heavy accents.  In Netflix’s new hit show, Master of None, Dev and his friends are binge-watching Sherlock together, and Arnold points out that, while he’s still enjoying the artfulness of the show, he can hardly make out a word Benedict Cumberbatch is saying:

Arnold sitting with his friends on a couch: Are you guys having a hard time with these accents? I havent understood a single word of this entire show. Im loving the visuals, but Im like, Whats that, Batch?

Arnold, sitting with his friends on a couch, says: "Are you guys having a hard time with these accents? I haven't understood a single word of this entire show. I'm loving the visuals, but I'm like, "What's that, 'Batch?"

This feature is a great step for providing viewers with a better user experience when it comes to closed captioning.  People who want them on the entire program still have that option, and for those who only want them in a pinch, all they have to do is ask.

Employee Spotlight: Jess Matelski

Posted by Anna on at 11:30 am. Captioners, Captioning, Employee Spotlight
Jess Matelski stands next to poster of Jessica Fletcher

Jess Matelski stands next to poster of Jessica Fletcher

At CaptionMax, we believe that our greatest strength is our employees. They’re clever, creative, and we can’t wait for you to get to know them a little better. Jess Matelski joined CaptionMax as a caption editor in November of 2004 and has worn a number of hats between then and becoming our Prerecorded Operations Manager earlier this year:

What’s your favorite part of working at CaptionMax?

Definitely the people. 11 years ago, I moved to the Twin Cities without a job or a plan, and I feel very fortunate to have found CaptionMax at that point, because it was this wellspring of smart, funny grammar nerds talking about TV all day. I kinda couldn’t believe it. I’ve met some of my best friends here. Media accessibility is a very specific kind of work that tends to attract a very specific kind of person who tends to be someone I generally get along with and who will laugh at my dumb jokes either out of genuine amusement or pity. And I’ll take either.

What job did you want when you were 10 years old?

When I was 10 years old, I didn’t want to grow up, so I didn’t really want a job. When pressed, I might have said, “Work in an office that I have to drive a car to, where there are lots of folders and where I can wear skirts and high-heeled shoes,” but that was probably based on my perception of what my mom’s job was… or maybe a Barbie commercial.

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

Oxygen. Also, my dog, Mike.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m really good at parallel parking. But it’s basically my only talent, so I can’t afford to hide it.

What is your biggest hobby outside of work?

Hm. So you’re looking for something different than what I do at work? So something other than watching TV?

[awkward silence]

Writing? Thinking about writing?

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

Living, for sure.

What is your favorite TV show/movie?

What isn’t my favorite TV show/movie? Some stuff I have watched over and over: Arrested Development, Farscape, Firefly, Fringe, Gilmore Girls, Golden Girls, Parks & Rec, Princess Bride, Shaun of the Dead, X-files… Just about every adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, ever (except for the 2005 Pride & Prejudice, which I hate, but I’ll admit that’s mostly based on first impressions). Okay, I’ll stop.

Department of Justice Delays Website Accessibility Regulations Till 2018

Posted by Anna on December 14, 2015 at 11:00 am. ADA, Captioning, Video Description
The exterior of the Department of Justice

The exterior of the Department of Justice

Last month, in a move legal experts in the field described as “astonishing,” the Department of Justice announced they will not issue any regulations for website accessibility under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) until fiscal year 2018. This is unwelcome news for many businesses that have been awaiting firm guidelines from the DOJ since it began the process with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in 2010.  The ADA Title III Specialty Practice Team at Seyfarth Shaw gave a number of reasons for why this process has been so murky:

“DOJ made a number of statements in the 2010 ANPRM that led businesses to reasonably conclude that they could and should wait for the regulation to issue before taking action. Among other things, the ANPRM acknowledged a need to adopt a legal technical standard for an ‘accessible’ website and asked how much time businesses should be given to comply. However, since issuing that ANPRM, DOJ’s enforcement attorneys have investigated numerous public accommodations, pressuring them to make their websites accessible. DOJ even intervened in recent lawsuits (e.g., herehere, and here) taking the position that the obligation to have an accessible website has existed all this time in the absence of any new regulations.”

The DOJ maintains that part of why it’s delaying regulations on Title III is so it can learn from the development of state and local government website regulations (under Title II) it is supposedly issuing in January of 2016.

While businesses have a considerable wait for official regulations, the DOJ has strongly indicated through investigations, settlements, and court filings over the last 5 years that any website will be considered “accessible” if it is compliant with the Level AA standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).  While WCAG standards apply to many different aspects of websites, these are the guidelines for video content:

Level A (Beginner)

To conform to Level A guidelines, online content producers must provide the following:

Offline Captions Pre-recorded video content with audio must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description OR text video description (media alternative) that is accessible using screen reader technology.

Level AA (Intermediate)

To conform to Level AA guidelines, online content producers must provide what is listed in Level A, as well as:

Live Captions Live streaming videos must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description.

America’s Next Top Model Nyle DiMarco Takes On American Airlines Over Lack of Captioning

Posted by Anna on December 11, 2015 at 11:38 am. ADA, Captioning
Nyle DiMarco

Nyle DiMarco

Last week, Nyle DiMarco became a household name. Not only was he the first deaf contestant on America’s Next Top Model, he was also the winner in the final season of the show, making him the last next top model ever. This came on the heels of DiMarco causing quite a stir on Twitter after calling out American Airlines for lack of captioning on their in-flight entertainment. November  24, Nyle tweeted:

@AmericanAir, your movies did not have subtitles for me as a Deaf person.  It is 2015.  When are you going to be 100% accessible for all?

@AmericanAir, your movies did not have subtitles for me as a Deaf person. It is 2015. When are you going to be 100% accessible for all?

Nyle’s tweet was met with enthusiastic support by fans, advocates, and Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who has done considerable advocacy herself to make the closed captioning of content universal. While American Airlines was swift to respond, many people found what was said to be unapologetic, unhelpful, and insensitive.

@NyleDiMarco The fact that close-captioned writing on small screens may cover the monitors.

@NyleDiMarco The fact that close-captioned writing on small screens may cover the monitors.

DiMarco did not hold back his feelings about American Airline’s response to his complaint, first saying, ” I can’t believe I’m reading this,” shortly followed by another tweet that said, “@AmericanAir went with an audist reply instead. An apology, sensitivity (re)training, & a solution are needed asap.”  DiMarco then retweeted a number of followers urging him to contact the National Association of the Deaf and file an ADA complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as individuals saying they planned to boycott American Airlines.

It looks like this is just the beginning of DiMarco using his newfound celebrity to draw more attention to the gaps in accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Yesterday, he was helping boost the #WHccNow (White House Closed Captions Now) movement, urging the Obama administration to add closed captions to all of the videos they publish to social media:

I believe in equality. @WhiteHouse please add CC to your videos to include your Deaf American citizens. #WHccNow

I believe in equality. @WhiteHouse please add CC to your videos to include your Deaf American citizens. #WHccNow

A huge congratulations to Nyle for making history and making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans.

 

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