Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Introducing Sasha Thorpe - a Deaf Girl in a Hearing World...

 Meet Sasha, a 23 year old student at York St John's University currently studying Counselling and BSL. She introduces herself as:
 "Sasha Thorpe: Deaf girl with a hearing family. Full of life and Humour, rather cheeky at times! I wear two hearing aids due to baldness in my cochlea's (Balder than my grandad's head!)."
There has been an international campaign today  in England and America using Twitter and #Subtitlesnow #captionTHIS in order to raise awareness on lack of subtitles on online videos.

Here's a link to explain the campaign further.

Limping Chicken - Using the #subtitlesnow to highlight inaccessible online videos.

This past year at university I’ve been having problems with subtitles. There are two issues that I have raised.

First issue is videos being shown in lectures that are from YouTube, therefore no transcripts or subtitles. These are being shown for educational purpose, how am I supposed to learn if I cannot fully comprehend what is being said?

The other issue is the student union (SU) are making videos to advertise things that are happening within the university such as the summer ball or to educate students. Half the time these SU videos are voice over’s so I cannot lipread.

The feedback I got originally was an apology from my lecturer and a promise that they will let me know in advance so I can get the disability services at uni to transcribe for me. Several clips from YouTube later, still no warning from lecturer so no transcripts.
And as for the Student Union early on in the year the issues of subtitles was raised in a meeting and they decided they would transcribe the videos, still waiting for this to happen.

Today I tweeted both the University and the student union with #subtitlesnow.

The university are going to subtitles their videos at the end of summer ready for the new academic year :D
The SU will subtitles the welcoming videos (Aimed at new students) but will transcribe the rest. Now I understand their reasons for not being able to subtitles all the videos due to funding and staffing levels.

My university is a small uni, but if they want to grow and gain more students then there need better access for the deaf or hard of hearing. I also think subtitled welcoming videos may trick new hearing impaired students into thinking this university is good at providing to their needs. They need more improvement to their disability services.

Transcripts and subtitles are not the same. If I read a transcript then there no point in watching the video, but with subtitles you can watch the video and read the subs at the same time.

To make it fair… Give transcripts to all students (and in braille) and forget videos. They will save time and resources doing this. Is wrong of me to keep pushing for all videos to be subtitles? Funnily enough there is a small part of me that is afraid to ruffle some feathers! But why should I sit back and miss out on all the fun that is watching these videos?

Another major Issue I am having, relating to my degree in counselling. We have to film ourselves in a counselling role and then analyse ourselves. In essay we have to transcribe our dialogue to show our skills. This difficult for me as the film only shows the side of me and client, therefore no lipreading. The downside to this is i’m not allow to show the clip to anyone else due to confidentiality. I get soooo frustrated that I was tempted to throw my laptop! But I’m not going to let this hold me back from completing my course!

Read more of Sasha's blog posts on her own blog - Deaf Girl in a Hearing World



  1. I hate it when people subtitle flagship stuff and don't subtitle the rest - you're right, it is horribly misleading.

    I also hate transcripts, they're POINTLESS and boring/dull to read - I rarely use them so why bother. Either subtitle the video properly or don't bloody bother and accept you're being inaccessible to up to 1 in 7 people + all those with auditory processing issues.

    Also if the medium is video or audio, it is not the same as an article, the construction is different the aim is different. Audio and video do have their uses for reading impaired people and those with an auditory learning style however it shouldn't be instead of, it should be alongside. Subtitles will make a video as it was intended accessible with realtime inclusion. A transcript is like trying to paint an apple when you've got stiff sheets of cardboard.

    A podcast/audio is harder and worth mentioning as they're also big in academia these days. I'd prefer that the context was extracted and made into an article than being made to read a transcript which is dull. I wonder if subtitling audio only content for people who want to listen and read would work? Probably not for me, audio only is the quickest way to a splitting headache if you ask me and I won't remember a thing afterwards.

    Your counselling course should allow you to get your videos sent to a confidential transcribing service even though it's confidential so you get a transcript. Your DSA should pay for this no problems at all. Your DSA will also pay for videos to be transcribed. Keep complaining if you can - Equality Act briefly mentioned never hurts along with "anticipatory duty" which your disability service will know. Your disability people can't help if they don't know the problem isn't going away.

    Good luck for next year, I hope they have subtitled allt he videos by then.

  2. Hi and Wow what a comment and loved it :)
    You're right about the splitting headaches part :/ and I never remember what been said. Im a visual person, reading helps me remeber and learn.
    I didn't know that I can send them off to be transcribed privatly nor that the DSA can fund this. Im not 100% sure what I can gain from my DSA, they are not very informative!
    I hope so too, Its important to have subtitles!

  3. wow, i didnt know that DSA could pay for videos to be transcribed either! :) thats really useful to know! i think as part of my social work degree there will be lots of videos and things like with Sashas counselling! thanks for the advice! :)