I'm hard of hearing and I'm very upset that so much online video is not captioned and is therefore inaccessible to me. I want to contact online video providers - especially news organizations, documentary filmmakers and businesses - to strongly encourage them to provide closed captions, and I'm looking for your advice on an effective approach.
I have severe hearing loss from birth and I wear hearing aids in both ears that allow me to function okay in face-to-face conversations, but video is difficult for me, especially when the speaker is not facing the camera. For TV and movies, I always use subtitles or closed captions. Closed captions are federally mandated for TV, and for online content that has been shown on TV. (FCC regulations
) But.. for some reason providers have dragged their heels on this. Netflix had to be sued by the National Association for the Deaf before they provided widespread captioning. (Thanks NAD!)
However, I still frequently run across online content that should be captioned but is not (news programs and advertisers are the worst offenders). This is completely mystifying to me (and mildly enraging) since they've already had to create the captions for the TV broadcast. Is there an additional technical hurdle of which I am not aware?
I know I can make a complaint to the FCC, but I think it might be faster to contact content producers directly, especially in the case of small organizations/solo producers.
I would like to make these points:
1. There are lots of deaf, hard of hearing, and other people who have difficult understanding spoken language. With sufficiently advanced age, most people will lose a significant amount of their hearing.
2. Automatic captioning (e.g. YouTube) is a flawed solution that is often incomprehensible, and deaf people should have the same rights of access as hearing people.
3. Content producers are shooting themselves in the foot by not making this accessible, because they are not communicating their message to their entire audience.
4. [especially for news organizations who don't provide transcripts] I could miss information that could be life saving (natural disasters, etc)
5. They already have to caption the same content for TV,
so what is their fucking problem
so they should be able to utilize the work they have already done.
I would also like a boilerplate message for YouTube bloggers/web series creators, but I'd tone it down a lot since they don't have the same responsibilities as corporate entities. I would like to point them at free software that makes captioning as painless as possible, but I'm not aware of the options here.
I'm asking for your thoughts and suggestions. Ideally I'd come up with a boilerplate that others could use as well, and I'm hoping public pressure has an effect. Captioning should be easy and cheap to include, and it would make many people's lives much better.