A website devoted to exploring accessibility at the intersection of technology and rhetoric. What began in 2008 as a space to explore accessible podcasting has turned into an ongoing reflection on the rhetoric of closed captioning. I welcome your feedback.
Surveying the preferences and attitudes of regular viewers of closed captioning

Surveying the preferences and attitudes of regular viewers of closed captioning

Do you watch closed-captioned programming regularly? Take this anonymous survey designed to measure viewers’ assessments of caption quality.
"The main factor that drives captioning quality is what clients are willing to pay for it."

“The main factor that drives captioning quality is what clients are willing to pay for it.”

An email I received recently from a professional captioner. Posted with permission.
Drunk speech but sober captions: How manner captions do the heavy lifting

Drunk speech but sober captions: How manner captions do the heavy lifting

How writing homogenizes speech and how the non-speech manner caption attempts to re-embody speech...
The power of dots and dashes to tell the future

The power of dots and dashes to tell the future

Sometimes, punctuation in captions can provide important clues about what's going to happen, regardless of how well or poorly timed the captions are.
Humanizing nameless speakers

Humanizing nameless speakers

Speaker IDs can humanize nameless characters...
"That whole thing's your name?" Captioning names in The Fifth Element

“That whole thing’s your name?” Captioning names in The Fifth Element

On the importance of verbatim captioning, especially when names are involved.
“Subtitles I like to ride on”: When medium awareness extends to subtitles

“Subtitles I like to ride on”: When medium awareness extends to subtitles

Examples of fictional characters breaking through the fourth wall...
Captioned hypnosis

Captioned hypnosis

Recurring sounds on TV shows allow us to explore questions of consistency and accuracy in closed captioning.
Closed captioners don't caption sounds.

Closed captioners don’t caption sounds.

Closed captioners don't caption sounds in isolation. They caption shows.
Professional captioners wanted now for interviews! Earn $20 Walmart gift card.

Professional captioners wanted now for interviews! Earn $20 Walmart gift card.

Interview participants needed. Must have experience with offline/prerecorded closed captioning. Contact sean.zdenek@ttu.edu for details.
Busy signal or engaged tone? Captions, language variety, and localized accessibility

Busy signal or engaged tone? Captions, language variety, and localized accessibility

On the need to consider differences among varieties of English when captioning non-speech sounds...
Captioned silence?

Captioned silence?

In some well-defined situations, silence must be captioned.
Genre-defining sounds, even when they lie to us

Genre-defining sounds, even when they lie to us

Even when music is intended to deceive, it needs to be captioned if it's instrumental to the genre.
In a manner of speaking

In a manner of speaking

When a character's accent is meaningful or when a scene or line of dialogue hinges on how a character speaks, manner of speech needs to be indicated in the closed captions.
Logocentrism: The tendency to privilege speech over non-speech in closed captioning

Logocentrism: The tendency to privilege speech over non-speech in closed captioning

Does logocentric thinking shape closed captioning practices?
Captioning the faintest sounds when they're part of a repetitive series

Captioning the faintest sounds when they’re part of a repetitive series

Does every repetitive sound need to be captioned? What visual cues are sufficient to indicate a repeating sound in the absence of a caption?
Captioned puns and wordplay

Captioned puns and wordplay

In the case of captioned wordplay, the difference between writing and speaking, text and sound, is obvious.
Captioned irony: How captions manipulate narrative time and viewers' knowledge

Captioned irony: How captions manipulate narrative time and viewers’ knowledge

Inspired by the notion of dramatic irony, I offer a definition of "captioned irony."
Iambic pentameter captions?

Iambic pentameter captions?

Should poems and other quoted material be captioned as they were originally written?
[Groan] or Ahh? Series awareness and alternative captions

[Groan] or Ahh? Series awareness and alternative captions

Should a running gag be captioned the same way each time it occurs?
Sonic allusions and cultural literacy for captioners

Sonic allusions and cultural literacy for captioners

How should cultural allusions be closed captioned?
The running gag principle: Caption the series, not the episode

The running gag principle: Caption the series, not the episode

What would closed captions be like if diehard fans were in charge of captioning their favorite shows?
Zoom Zoom: Selling caption space

Zoom Zoom: Selling caption space

What if closed captions were bought and sold as a form of product placement?
Captioning 101: When music lyrics trigger an explosion, you just might want to caption them.

Captioning 101: When music lyrics trigger an explosion, you just might want to caption them.

When music lyrics are instrumental to a film's plot, they need to be captioned.
Stylistic standards for closed captioning and data mining

Stylistic standards for closed captioning and data mining

When speaker IDs, musical lyrics, and sound descriptions have their own distinctive stylistic treatments, they can be extracted from closed caption files and studied as separate units of discourse.
How many TV commercials are closed captioned?

How many TV commercials are closed captioned?

Recently, I conducted an informal survey of two hours of TV in an effort to track which and how many ads were closed captioned.
Curb: Five sounds that should have been captioned

Curb: Five sounds that should have been captioned

An analysis of five sounds from Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 2) that should have been captioned. Only dialogue is captioned in this season of Curb on DVD.
Captioned thematics: How captions make interpretative patterns visible

Captioned thematics: How captions make interpretative patterns visible

Closed captions can help viewers recognize themes and patterns in movies that might otherwise remain latent.
Captioning the backchannel: How captions clarify and equalize sounds

Captioning the backchannel: How captions clarify and equalize sounds

When sounds in the background are captioned, they come forward. All sounds become equally "loud" on the caption track.
Overcaptioning: Which sounds are significant?

Overcaptioning: Which sounds are significant?

Which sounds are significant? How does the captioner choose which sounds to caption? Are some captions unnecessary? Why isn't it possible to caption every sound in the environment?
Twilight: Captioning the "gaspiest" movie ever

Twilight: Captioning the “gaspiest” movie ever

How should gasps, groans, sighs, grunts, scoffs, moans, pants and other assorted "breathy" sounds be captioned? When should they be captioned? What's the difference between them? Why does it matter?
If movie characters could read closed captions...

If movie characters could read closed captions…

Caption users sometimes know what’s happening before the characters themselves. In this way, captions tell the future.
Whispers and other sounds you were never meant to hear

Whispers and other sounds you were never meant to hear

An analysis of attempts by fans to make audible the whisper at the end of Lost in Translation.
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Latest entries

Captioning tornado warnings on TV

We all know how terribly unreliable and inaccurate TV captions can be. On the local TV news in my area (Lubbock, TX), the captions are usually pretty good because the written transcript being fed through the teleprompter is also used for captioning. Problems with captions occur when announcers ad-lib, for example during sports and weather segments.  On the...

WiFi sensitivity and the ADA

“Dozens” of “electro-sensitive” residents of Santa Fe want a ban placed on public wireless signals because the signals are allegedly causing allergic reactions in people with radio wave allergies. Sufferers of “electro-smog” reportedly experience various degrees of sickness, including chest pains lasting a couple days.  According to USA Today, The [TV] station says Firstenberg and...