“C” is for Captioning – A review of the ASL Manual Alphabet

C-ASL-Alphabet1-150x150 is for captioning – all types, including open and closed captioning. You all may be familiar with closed captioning as accessed on your television. You may have seen the familiar  on your television’s remote or set itself. Federal law compelled all television manufacturers to have the the decoder circuitry in their sets (13 inches or larger). You may think that closed captioning is just for Deaf people, but this is not true. While it does provide those who cannot hear better access to television programming, it is also very helpful to those learning English as a second language.

There are a few problems with captioning, such as live captioning (news telecasts and other live shows) where the captioner cannot keep pace with the spoken word. Additionally, the benefits of captioning depend greatly on the reader’s ability to keep pace with the text as it scrolls across the screen. You should try it yourself sometime, by muting the sounding and seeing if you can follow any given program. Remember, this means not only reading the text but also following the action on the screen (it’s not nearly as easy to do as with foreign language film subtitles). You have to hope that the captioned text is not garbled, too. Also, bear in mind that most Deaf people claim American Sign Language, not English, as their first language. Depending on the Deaf individual, English skills can vary greatly. You can read more about the law, captioning and FCC by visiting FCC’s Closed Captioning website.

You can Google “Closed Captioning bloopers” and come up with lots of them. Just to give you a taste, visit YouTube here and see how very difficult (and funny) it can be to read the captioning.

Captioning is not limited to closed captioning. Open captioning is becoming more popular today as more movie theaters are jockeying to offer Deaf clientele full access to motion pictures (and full access to the economy of the Deaf Community). There are many websites that provide lists of theaters that have captioned films. Our favorite, here at 360 Translations, is CaptionFish. You can also download their app from your favorite mobile droid or mobile device.

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