A Little Deaf Education

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Category: Tech 4 comments

I’ve been busy over at Bionic Ear Blog as two great blog posts inspired the two recent posts. I’m sharing them here as that blog and this one have different audiences. You may be interested in learning a little more about what it’s like for a deaf person to hear and the different types of captioned videos available.

Closed captioning symbolFurthermore, I want to open the door to your questions about deafness. Ask anything. I know how hard it is to ask someone such questions — unless you know the person very well — because you don’t know whether that person is sensitive or open. Ask away.

Closed-Captioned Video Examples has actual videos of different types of captioned videos so you can see how they’re different. If your business produces videos, it will give you things to consider in creating accessible videos. (This is only a small part of accessibility. There are also accessible videos for people who are blind.)

What Do Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants Sound Like? does exactly that and includes videos.

What questions do you have about deafness?

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What I Learned from Limits

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at 9:31 AM | Category: Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 7 comments
Relax Speed Limit

Image credit: Josh Klute

Limits. That stayed out of my vocabulary even though I first appeared in Harris Hospital in Fort Worth without hearing. My life became about proving  I could do as well as anyone, if not better. This nurtured my competitive spirit, which worked for and against me in my life.

The phone had the honor of being the first limit. I didn’t have a teletypewriter (TTY) until the first job after college. I never considered the inability to follow TV programs a limit because I enjoyed cartoons and Sesame Street. Besides, I stayed out of the house always going to practice here and a game there as I played all kinds of sports.

Then I received my first closed-caption decoder at age 13. No more than 10 shows, if that, contained closed-captions. I think the first captioned program I ever caught was a James Bond movie. The first TV series I loved watching was Dynasty. I adored Joan Collins’ British accent (I still love seeing accents especially the British) — yes, I could lipread and recognize accents although I couldn’t place them all.

Today, the majority of national TV shows come with captions. Now I can choose what I want to watch. Back then, I’d watch anything that was captioned. I, of course, hope this will happen with videos and shows on the Internet. However, I’m a realist. I understand the problem of some folks being hobbyists and it would take a lot of time to caption longer videos. Videos under 10 minutes are easy to caption even I caption my videos.

Whenever someone sends me a link to a video or posts a video on a web site, I ignore it most of the time knowing it most likely won’t have subtitles or captions. I do catch the ones without words, but they don’t come along very often. A bill, HR 3101, is working to change this.

Often, I wonder how much more I could accomplish if I could hear. I’d be a better listener — rarely needing to ask people to repeat themselves or tell me what topic we’re discussing. I’d speak without a deaf accent avoiding the stares from young eyes thinking I’m strange or adult eyes thinking I’m not bright. I’d be able to go to networking events and conferences without a worry whether I’ll make the most out of my investment. I’d be able to make and receive phone calls. I’d be able to conduct phone interviews. I’d be able to attend online conferences.

But then I remember my being deaf compelled me to work harder. If I didn’t have that difference, would I have worked as hard? Maybe I would’ve resigned to living an average life as I would’ve felt I had no limit or anything to prove. Maybe I’d still be in a corporate job.

It took me years to learn that I may lead a better life as a deaf person than as a hearing person. After all, motivation can make a huge difference.

This is a contribution to the Group Writing Project What I Learned from Limits. You have until Sunday, October 12, to join in! I’d love to hear your thoughts (pun intended — but really I’d like to read your thoughts) on the topic. Thank you, Robert, for giving an idea for a post.

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Watch Your English Style for Web Content

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Category: Business, Language, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

as_time_goes_byI’m hooked on As Time Goes By, a British TV show starring the Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. I’m also getting into British-based Prime Suspect with Helen Mirrin.

Not only do I enjoy the repartee between Dench and Palmer, but also hearing the British accents. While I may not have good hearing, I can see and recognize the differences between British and American English.

I watch these shows with closed-captions or English subtitles. An interesting thing to note is that the captions use the American English spelling rather than British. For example, if a character says “color,” the captions also says “color” rather than “colour.”

Now why would a British TV show use American spelling? Because the DVD, a BBC America production, targets the American audience. This confirms Jakob Nielsen’s belief that web content need to use the correct variant of English and stick with it throughout the web site.

I love learning the differences in our languages including sounds, terms (football instead of soccer; Earth instead of dirt; loo instead of bathroom), and slang.

What amazes me is the shows make many American references. As an American, I might notice this more. However, I don’t think I’ve seen references to other countries and their cultures except in reference to an event such as Palmer’s character’s time spent in Korea.

Back to English and content. As much as I love the British culture and language (UK is one of the first places I want to travel whenever I get to the other side of the world), I use American English on this web site.

After all, most readers and clients hail from the US plus it’s where I live. Now, if I had an audience of 75% from the UK, then it could be a different story. However, it wouldn’t be a straight-out easy answer of using British English.

As much as I have picked up British slang, concepts, and terms, I will probably make mistakes. So is it better to stick with what I know best and stay consistent, or take a risk to devote thhe site  to British English and make a bad impression when I make honest mistakes?

Experts says to “speak in the audience’s language.” But does US and UK variation English count? In either case, we’re speaking English. For credibility’s sake, I’d probably need to stick with American English.

One of the more important rules regarding web content is “consistency.” That means deciding whether you use American English or Queen’s English, web site or website, Internet or internet.

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Business Benefit from IT Accessibility

Monday, February 4th, 2008 at 10:15 AM | Category: Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 1 comment

Over at Bionic Ear, we often discuss the lack of captions in online videos, which has recently surged due to the writer’s strike. John Erskine of Project readOn pointed to a press release: Study finds companies benefit from removing IT barriers for people with disabilities and boomers.

Since everyone is talking about yesterday’s Super Bowl — one thing disappointed me. Many of the $$$ commercials didn’t have captions. These companies spend ginormous bucks to show their ads during the prime time of commercials and can’t spare a few dollars to add captioning?


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Captioned Media Program

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 at 7:50 AM | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

Resources available in captioned media talks about the Caption Media Program (CMP), a great program that ofers free loans of open captioned programs. The program now offers Internet streaming videos and currently has over 1000 videos. I love this part because finding online captioned media is like the needle in haystack thing.

I just finished reading Winning Results with Google AdWords (reading it to do an abstract, not to advertise) and learned something interesting. Google Video relies on caption transcripts to make its videos searchable. Well, why can’t the captions be in the streaming videos, too? [ Read more… ]

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