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Comment Freelance interpreters (Score 1) 81

No, there is nothing good enough. In fact, automated systems got a good, old-fashioned drubbing at the captioning challenge at the ASSETS 2013 conference. Nothing came even close to a human steno captioner.

If you want to make family events accessible and the person in question signs, my recommendation is to hire freelance interpreters. They often charge on a sliding scale, depending on the event and means of the client, and tend to run much cheaper than anyone you can get through referral services. That is what we do at family events, and it works both ways: events by my hearing family for us, and events by us for my hearing friends and family.

If the person does not sign, human captioning is an alternative, but it probably would have to be local rather than remote. Remote does well if there are no overlapping conversations. Otherwise, it has to be local, but that is a lot harder to arrange for, and more expensive.

A note to some of the other commenters: please spare use the patronizing posts of us not missing out on any of the (presumably inane) conversations that take place at such events. *We* make the decision as to what conversation we consider important and what we do not, and nothing is worse than people presuming to speak for us, and presuming to know better about access than we do.

Comment Re:Serious question: (Score 1) 694

Whether or not something is an essential service is irrelevant under the ADA. The whole point is that you can't get out of discriminating against a group by stating that said group is not your target group. Contrary to your insinuation, the 9th Circuit judges are not stupid - in fact, they have a long history of coming down on the side of businesses.

As for the free services and interpreters, this is a strawman par excellence and not worth replying to. I'll just note two things here:

First, deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers pay for their tickets like everyone else. Second, supporting closed captioning in a movie theater is a ONE TIME cost of $2500 for the equipment. The rest is handled by the fact that digital projection systems already provide all the necessary functionality natively and that most movies are already captioned by the content owners.

And if a theater does not have a digital projection system yet, it is not required to provide closed captions.

So, let's cut the BS already.

Comment Re:Don't forget the blind! (Score 1) 694

Older DVDs do have textual captions. But HDMI has no provision for carrying closed caption data, and as a result these are not viewable on TVs that are connected to the player via HDMI (*). As a result, newer DVDs and BluRay discs uniformly use subtitles, instead, which are rendered bitmap images, rather than text.

(*) Recent FCC rules require that DVD and BluRay players must render the captions themselves before transmitting them via HDMI, starting in 2014, but this is tangential to the argument.

Comment Re:Don't forget the blind! (Score 1) 694

That is true for TV, but not for DVDs and BluRay discs. The latter could be handled via OCR, though. Unfortunately, DRM frequently stands in the way, unless we can gain an exemption to the DMCA from the Copyright Office. We filed for one, but this matter is still pending, and the Copyright Office told us that their ruling could go either way.

Comment Re:Serious question: (Score 2) 694

The movie theaters tried to make the same argument and were slapped down by the 9th Circuit. The judges essentially told them: "So, does this mean that a courthouse does not have to provide a wheelchair accessible ramp, because it is targeted only at people without a mobility impairment?" The largest three movie theater chains eventually settled because of this. WIth digital projection systems, the cost to equip a theater with closed-caption equipment is less than $2500.

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