Why doesn't closed captioning work?

I love closed captioning. But why can’t they make it better. First of all any live broadcast, like the news, is full of symbols and garbage, and – marks that make it immpossible to read

Second, the TV shows often are like that two. Why I can understand not being able to keep up with a “Live” broadcast by why somthing that is prepared weeks in advance.

Third, a lot of time the lines the actors say aren’t what is being said. This is notorius in the Simpsons.

Also why is it some shows like “I Love Lucy” are captioned on one network but not when shown locally or vice versa


I guess I’ll pose the obvious question, why do you use it and enjoy it so much since I can infer that your not deaf?

I am not deaf, and I love closed captioning. It allows me to keep up with what’s happening in a show while talking on the phone. Also, sometimes I mishear what was said by a character, and the captioning fills me in.

My theory on screwed-up captions is this:

  1. Reception. Obviously, the captionins has to be transmitted with the television signal. I’ve noticed that when reception is bad, so are the captions.

  2. Missing dialog: Possibly, the episode was captioned according to an origional script, and then later, after the captioning was completed, the dialog was changed, and lines were added here and there.

  3. The news: Local news is relatively low budget when compared to larger, national brodcasts. Possibly, the captioning is poor because of that, and possibly the numbers and signs are signals for the anchor person to give an inflection in their voice. Such as "Police say the man who was caught molesting the cattle had been arrested for the very same act &*42( nine times. Our local news uses ALL CAPITALS when the news anchor is supposed to change tone, or stress particular words. It’s kind of neat to watch and match up. Or maybe I just have too much time on my hands.

4)I Love Lucy: As I said earlier, captioning is costly, and local brodcasts may not want to pay for it for “filler” programs. But then again, if the captioning is already on a particular episode, then I’m stumped as to why it couldn’t be rebrodcast locally with the captioning intact.

I think a lot of the time, the feed from the teleprompter is fed directly to the CC device, because alot of the time it says something like “WEATHER GUY CHAT” or something. I also watch some CC on TV, but not shows where it scrolls like that so much. It gets annoying, especially since sometimes it’s 30 seconds behind or it scrolls by really quickly if, for example, it’s pre-taped on a live show. I’ve also noticed recently that a lot of dialog doesn’t match up with what the captioning, but that the words are close, as though the captioner misinterpreted them, or didn’t actually look at the script.

I use the close captioning alot because on so many shows and movies, actors MUMBLE their lines!!! Also on shows like X-files and others with sometimes hard-to-follow story lines, it helps make sense of what is going on. I wish more sports bars used the closed captioning on basketball, football broadcasts, etc.

I think with live broadcasts, voice-recognition software is used. This is particularly obvious during sports events when the CC comes up with some sort of phonetic homonym for unusual names.

With show like the Simpsons, I think sometimes shortened versions of the dialogue is used because it would be difficult to read all the dialogue verbatim as quickly as it is presented.

Carpe hoc!

Before someone else points it out…

I realized, belatedly, that “phonetic homonym” is redundant. My apologies.

Closed-captioning works.

Could be your tv. Play a known video that has captions and if they come out okay, then its not your tv.

Law says the news has to be captioned and some stations do this with software that sucks off the teleprompter, so when ever someone adlibs, there are no captions.

Some stations, Disney, HBO, too, have a real caption studio inside so they do wonderful captions.

If a show is sent raw thru satellite dishes & has captions; but the station forgets to turn them on [idiots] you won’t see captions. So that’s why the same show sometimes is and other times is not. Call the station & tell them to do something about it.

I have found that, on some episodes of MAS*H, which is closed-captioned according to the TV listings (in the Los Angeles area), the captions do appear and on some they don’t–and on episodes without the captioning, some commercials DO have the captions. I also watch Judge Judy regularly, and some segments are captioned while some are not. (I am a hearing person; I was given a new TV about two years ago; under California law, all new sets sold in the state must now be equipped for captioning.)
Two other curiosities:
I want to see captioning on KMEX, Channel 34, a Spanish station; but how do you set the controls for that?
Sometimes the captioning is in COLORS. How do they do that??

I used Captions as I do have a very slight problem with hearing and likes others point out actors often mumble or don’t speak clearly.

What I don’t understand is, like in Chicago, Channel 5, WMAQ uses CC on looks like Tod•• In o8••NSA a pers`•• wh• wen.=. And it is jibberish ALL THE TIME. If it looks like that why have it.

Why are some sitcoms broadcasting captions that look like that. I don’t care about sound alike words or that, I object to these are 30 year old re-runs, who have CC that look like that.

It isn’t reception by the way a box in not a letter.

I just feel bad for totally deaf people who can’t hear at all and must rely on that garbage.

Closed Captioning is carried in the video signal, hidden in the outermost scanlines. Any VCR therefore can capture it and output it so long as the TV set has a decoder.

I believe that CC is only required on sets 19" and larger.

The reason that CC is sometimes absent on local broadcasts is because of licensing fees and rights issues (the captioning is the property of the company that produced it and requries third party approval and/or fees).

Watch when Comedy Central rebroadcasts HBO comedy specials. They bleep out the cuss words but they are intact in the captioning.

captioning is present in any tv set larger than 12" made after July 93.

Mark, perhaps you should call the station that has the news & tell the station what is happening. Perhaps they can do something about it because they may not know it.

I’m a professional sign-language interpreter, and as such have a bit of a professional interest in all things pertaining to Deafness. I also have lots of Deaf friends and clients, and CC is one of their favorite pet peeves.

Often, the “live” captioning on the news, etc, is LIVE–in other words, some hapless person is sitting at a keyboard, trying to keep up to the spoken words. Since people speak at a much more rapid pace than most folks can type, I can see how this would create a problem. I don’t know what kind of keyboard is used–I would hope that an arrangement like a court reporter’s would be employed–but a person who WAS a court reporter, and is now an interpreter colleague of mine, says that the court thingy records how things SOUND, and must by typed on a regular keyboard later, to be legible. This would account for the homonym problem.

As for the &^ odd symbols, etc, I suspect it IS a transmission problem. Many TTYs (also know as TDDs or Telephone Devices for the Deaf) have similar problems to CC. For some reason, due to internal or environmental factors (loose wire/lots of background noise) they will produce gibberish on random occasions. This can be quite annoying, as phone conversations look like this:
&^^((&^ AT (^G(I(* O’CLOCK?



Just my two cents.

[someones quote]
Law says the news has to be captioned

Possible, cite the act of congress or local legislation that impinges on free fress so.

One of the common problems is reruns of old captioned shows. Often the show is “time compressed” so the station can fit in more commercials than when the show was originally created. This seriously screws up captioning.

Hey, aren’t you supposed to be at work?

EvilGhandi, site a US law that says deaf people have no right to know what is being said on the news.

Betcha can’t.

The FCC mandate of closed-captions of all tv programs shouldn’t be that hard to find on the net.

One further problem is that many (most? all?) dramatic shows are close-captioned by fiercely territorial close-captioning companies that are unrelated to the production companies, and refuse to refer to scripts. Therefore, the CC is often dependent on the literacy and familiarity with the show of the captioner. The effect is especially grievous with science fiction shows.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

I musta gone blind,I KNOW I posted on here about the PBS documentary on WW2 that supposedly had the Nazi’s shouting “HI Hitler” (lemee check before I submit) Nope don’t see it. Also turn captioning on while watching ‘King of the Hill’, thought I might get a translation of Boomhauer,nope. ( I tell you what ,though ,I KNOW those guys,might take a dozen of the ones I know to make those four,but they live on my block. )

Well, yes. Some caption companies as a rule think that people can’t read that fast so they may take some artistic liberty with the script. Especially idioms.

It’s not really jibberish. It’s a secret code that only deaf people can understand. :wink:

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.