Captioning is the text display of spoken words projected on a screen (such as a television screen or LCD) which allows the viewer to follow dialogue by reading text.
Captioning is useful to deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well as children who are learning to read and individuals who are trying to master a second language.
Open captions appear on all receivers (televisions) and can be viewed without the use of a decoder. In the past, closed captions needed a special decoder to show captions on the screen. Most televisions sold today include a closed caption decoder. The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 stated that all TV sets over 13 inches sold in the United States after 1993 would include a closed captioning decoder.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can provide more information about captioning and how it affects you. The FCC website also includes information on issues related to hearing aids, relay services and web accessibility (Section 508).
Additional Caption Resources:
Media Access Group (formerly The Caption Center)
Captioning at the Movies
For far too long, deaf and hard of hearing individuals have had to forgo attending movies at the theater due to the lack of access. Because of advances in technology and advocacy efforts by several groups, this is now starting to change. Three national chains already have captioning systems in place and many more are following.
To locate captioned movies in a theater near you, check out Captionfish, a captioned movies search engine.
If you wish to have captioned movies shown at your local movie theater, we recommend that you call the theater to ask if they have accommodations. If they do not, you should ask to speak to a manager and gently remind them that the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that accommodations be made for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and you will call back in a month to find out how much progress has been made in providing accommodations. If you are refused accommodation you can contact the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and file a complaint against the theater.
For additional information about movie captioning:
Real Time Captioning
Real-time captions, also known as Computer Assisted Real-time Translation (CART), are created as the event takes place. They are used for meetings, conventions, classrooms, live events or programs that have no script (like broadcast news or sports events). A captioner (trained as a court reporter or stenographer) types in whatever is said using a stenotype machine and special software. There may be a slight delay depending upon the captioner's needs to hear the word and the computer processing time.
Real time captions are often used as an accommodation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing but do not know or depend on sign language to access information.
Real-time captioning can also be done remotely with the captioner working at a remote location, transmitting the information to the site where the event is taking place.