Closed Captioning Rebels

My daughter Stephanie, who has nothing wrong with her hearing, turns on the closed captioning for most of the television programs she watches. I’ve asked her why she does it. Stephanie explains she does it because the text streaming across the screen often has spelling, grammatical and other errors that make it difficult for hearing impaired individuals to really know what is being said.

My husband Fred does the same thing. In fact, so does my son.

I’d never done it until I was given the charge of closed captioning Rebels on Lake Erie for the Western Reserve Public Media.

Knowing how my family takes such delight in finding errors in closed captioning, I decided I’d provide an exact transcription. My closed captioning would be perfect – no grammatical errors, no misspellings and no odd representations of what was being said. When hearing impaired viewers – or anyone else – switched on the closed captioning, they’d really know what was happening in my documentary.

That sounds like it would be really easy. After all, I had a script, a word-for-word transcription of all the interviews and even the words for the songs we used.

The only thing was we’d made a lot of changes to that script as we tried to get the program down to the required 56 minutes and 46 seconds.

What did that mean?

It meant that I spent a week huddled over my trusty Mac laptop double checking every word so I could send a perfect script to the closed captioning company in Colorado recommended by Western Reserve Public Media. (Please keep in mind, I also had papers to grade and a variety of other documentary-related stuff to do.)

And so when Rebels on Lake Erie finally airs on WNEO and WEAO on April 23, I invite you to turn on the close captioning and check out just how good a job I did.

Kathleen Endres

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