Wednesday, 4 September 2019

To sign or Caption videos?


Most only need subtitling/captions (A narrative in text can help too), as it avoids issues with various levels of signing ability via yourself or via the deaf persons viewing. There are in the UK at least a number of regional sign differences also. Of course, there is a 'purist' element of BSL people who demand a different level of singing ability. As most deaf can read and write these days it appears captioning/subtitling is the least able to create confusion I find. 

I don't know your current level of skills it does appear pretty basic to be honest and that is fine all start somewhere, but depending on what type of video and information you put out, you could find yourself struggling to sign it all. Myself with 7 other people were amid the first actually in the UK deaf world to produce a signed/captioned video for youtube, it was an issue I never repeated (Signing it), because like yourself I was at learner stage and the deaf were pretty unforgiving the signing wasn't perfect for them, since then it was captions only and text for me. 

The common format of access is text, even UK TV output reflects that with less than 4% of programs being produced that way. I recall when a deaf program suggested they withdraw text and sign output only, the deaf threatened to stop watching their own program. The USA is different, lots of signed only output, personally, I don't feel this is a great idea because unless you know ASL no point looking at it.  I was never sure it was awareness at all as nobody but another signer knew what was being said.  Another issue is BSL won't carry to the ASL user, despite deaf claims sign is 'universal' it really isn't, so a text back up again is a better option.  

English text seems the most widely accessible so far at least for western world viewing.  Again it's better you do the captioning and text not rely on Google to do it for you as that system is still a huge annoyance to deaf people who find the spelling and grammar pretty dubious, Google apps and assists struggle with regional and spoken accents too.  A lot is based on the USA's version of English and grammar, as a native Brit, it is not a lot like it from where we stand! and the USA apps are pretty much a lottery in access terms here as a result.  

They get better but far from it at present. Deaf on Deaf viewing sign might work only, assuming you have the skills to get away with it.  Clearly, ASL viewers won't be looking at BSL signs.  However sign-only might well suggest the non-signing deaf are not being allowed access, so again text is essential to avoid the odd few who might complain.  You won't please everyone all the time, no point trying that.  There are alternatives to BSL e.g. Signed English, which is more representative of how you speak so you don't struggle so much to adopt the BSL grammar aspect which is a minefield even to the deaf.

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