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Bundling some things I posted elsewhere, exploring


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Live Radio Captioning for the Deaf 2008-12-20

Note

This post was originally posted by me on December 20, 2008  in the Innovate blog, which has since disappeared: see the Internet Archive version saved on March 9, 2009. It was then reposted automatically on the etcjournal.com blog, when the content of the Innovate blog was transfered to it.  I am reposting it as it was, except that bolded titles are replaced by H4 title styles and the broken pictures have been removed or replaced.

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By Claude Almansi
Staff Writer

Thanks to:

  • Sylvia Monnat, director of captioning at Télévision Suisse Romande (French-speaking Swiss television www.tsr.ch) for the explanations she gave me by phone on live captioning through re-speaking.
  • Neal Stein, of Harris Corporation (www.harris.com), for the authorization to publish on YouTube the video excerpt shown below, and for his explanations on the US live radio captioning project.

Why Caption Radio?

Making radio accessible for deaf and hard of hearing persons is not commonly perceived as a priority. For instance, the new version of the Swiss law and ordinance on Radio and Television that came into force in 2007 does add several dispositions about accessibility for people with sight and hearing disabilities but does not mention captioning radio. See art. 7 [1] of the law and art. 7 [2] and 8 [3] of the ordinance (in French). According to most non-deaf people’s “common sense,” deaf persons don’t use radio – just as many non-blind people still believe that blind people can’t use computers.

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Three Video Captioning Tools 2008-12-05

Note

This post was originally posted by James N. Shimabukuro on December 5, 2008  in the Innovate blog, which has since disappeared: see the Internet Archive version saved on December 11, 2008. It was then reposted automatically on the etcjournal.com blog, when the content of the Innovate blog was transfered to it.  I am reposting it as it was, except that James N. Shimabukuro’s bolded titles are replaced by H4 title styles and the broken pictures have been removed or replaced

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By Claude Almansi
Staff Writer

First of all, thanks to:

  • Jim Shimabukuro for having encouraged me to further examine captioning tools after my previous Making Web Multimedia Accessible Needn’t Be Boring post – this has been a great learning experience for me, Jim
  • Michael Smolens, founder and CEO of DotSUB.com and Max Rozenoer, administrator of Overstream.net, for their permission to use screenshots of Overstream and DotSUB captioning windows, and for their answers to my questions.
  • Roberto Ellero and Alessio Cartocci of the Webmultimediale.org project for their long patience in explaining multimedia accessibility issues and solutions to me.
  • Gabriele Ghirlanda of UNITAS.ch for having tried the tools with a screen reader.

However, these persons are in no way responsible for possible mistakes in what follows.

Common Features

Video captioning tools are similar in many aspects: see the screenshot of a captioning window at DotSUB:

[see http://terrillthompson.com/uploaded_images/dotsub-792095.jpg in Terrill Thompson’s Free Tools for Captioning YouTube Videos, Aug. 2, 2009]

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Making Web Multimedia Accessible Needn’t Be Boring – 2008-11-08

Note

This post was originally posted by James N. Shimabukuro on November 8, 2008  in the Innovate blog, which has since disappeared: see the Internet Archive version saved on December 11, 2008. It was then reposted automatically on the etcjournal.com blog, when the content of the Innovate blog was transfered to it: see Making Web Multimedia Accessible Needn’t Be Boring, also for the comments.  I am reposting it as it was, except that James N. Shimabukuro’s bolded titles are replaced by H4 title styles and the broken pictures have been removed.

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By Claude Almansi
Guest Author
7 November 2008

Some people see the legal obligation to follow Web content accessibility guidelines – whether of the W3C or, in the US, of section 508 – as leading to boring text-only pages. Actually, these guidelines do not exclude the use of multimedia on the web. They say that multimedia should be made accessible by “Providing equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content” and in particular: “For any time-based multimedia presentation (e.g., a movie or animation), synchronize equivalent alternatives (e.g., captions or auditory descriptions of the visual track) with the presentation.”[1]

This is not as bad a chore as it seems, and it can be shared between several people, even if they are not particularly tech-savvy or endowed with sophisticated tools.

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Attempt at an accessible interactive transcript for a YT video

Intro

When you subtitle a video on YT, the file of the subtitles also produces an interactive transcript under the player. See screenshot in YouTube’s Interactive Transcripts (Google Operating System – Unofficial news and tips about Google. 2010-06-04). Unfortunately, you need to point the cursor on the transcript symbol to activate it, so blind people cannot do that.

However, it is also possible to make deep links to given points of YT videos, as explained in YouTube Enables Deep Linking Within Videos (Jason Kincaid, TechCrunch, 25 ott. 2008).  So let’s try with an existing subtitled video: Vézelay, Church and Hill (with easily-made captions).

Embed:

Attempt at an accessible interactive transcript

0:00 Holy Pilgrimage Town: Vezelay, Church and Hill

0:05 A small hill lies in the Burgundy region of Central France. The Medieval town of Vezelay

0:11 extends beside the road and stretches across the hill.

0:21 The St. Madeleine church stands at the top. It is a centre of pilgrimage for Christians.

0:30 It was built in the 10th century and is believed to hold the relics of Mary Magdalene. It became

0:38 known as a revered place of the Holy Spirit. The interior is decorated with a large sculpture

0:44 illustrating, scenes from the Pentecost, with a figure of Jesus giving revelations to his

0:49 apostles in the middle. According to the Bible St. Mary Magdalene witnessed the death and

0:56 resurrection of Jesus. Her relics were highly prized in medieval times.

1:08 St. Madeleine Church drew many devout Christians from all over Europe to pay homage. People in the medieval period expressed their

1:20 religious faith by going on pilgrimage.

1:30 During the Crusades, knights saw St. Mary Magdalene as an inspiration for their campaign

1:35 – she was said to have been expelled from Jerusalem. St Madeleine Church became a point

1:44 of departure for Crusaders but also Pilgrims starting their trek to the Vatican and to

1:50 Holy sites in Spain. Scallop shells lie on the path in front of the church. The shell

1:57 was an emblem of Saint James and became a symbol of Pilgrimage.

2:03 Many houses, used to accommodate pilgrims still remain. A great number of pilgrims flocked

2:10 to the town in the Middle Ages and there was not enough space for everyone.

2:16 straw on the floor of spaces like this one which sheltered around 50-100 people. This

2:23 basement remains in its original shape but is now used as a wine cellar.

2:28 For modern-day pilgrims, the Holy Journey still starts from here: the town of Vezelay

2:35 in France.

Temporary assessment

Contrary to what I feared, WordPress does allow deep linking to a given point of a video, and hence to make a transcript that is – hopefully – accessible with a screen reader. The way I did it was:

  1. make a transcript by copypasting the one you made the subtitles with and simplifying the time codes as above
  2. make the first deep link, using the code indicated in in YouTube’s Interactive Transcripts.
  3. on the HTML interface, copy paste the <a href= etc> part of this first link for each following time code, adjusting minutes and seconds for each
  4. add the </a> tag for closing links after each link.

Issues:

  • this process is a bit of a pain in the neck, especially for longish videos
  • from a user’s viewpoint, each link will open the video again

Nevertheless, the pain in the neck might be worth it if it allows blind users to start a video where they want. Anyway, if you are using a screen reader, you can’t very well listen to the video and to the reading of the transcript at the same time.