You spoke. We listened. What changed?

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You spoke. We listened. What changed?

From the Chair

It is Week Four for the Global Alliance, and we have all been super busy! We know how busy you are, and we appreciate your taking the time to read our newsletter.
Last week we heard from some of you regarding our Founding Members Campaign and benefits received by Corporate Founding Members. There were concerns expressed that some Corporate Founding Member benefits appeared to provide sway over the Board of Directors or control of committees. That was not our intent, but we do see how the benefits could be misunderstood. Your feedback has prompted us to make the changes below, which will be updated on our website soon.

  • All Founding Members are invited to join the Global Alliance Advisory Board, which will exist for the first three years after launch. The Advisory Board will meet virtually to create philanthropic activities to enhance the captioning profession, to advise on lobbying and legislative opportunities and to make recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding partnering and collaborative opportunities with other organizations — those whose interests align with our vision of universal accessibility to the spoken word via all forms of captioning.
  • All Founding Members’ logos, website links and contact information will be listed on the Global Alliance website for perpetuity.
  • Corporate Founding Members are invited to a recognition celebration at the Annual Conference.
  • Corporate Founding Members receive one complimentary registration to the Annual Conference for the first three years.
  • Corporate Founding Members receive a free exhibitor’s booth at the Annual Conference for the first three years.

We thank those of you who took the time to contact us and help effect these changes. We encourage you to contact us directly on TwitterInstagramFacebook, by email, or call 202-969-8818.

I have mentioned previously that the Global Alliance will be creating real-world testing to certify all methods of captioning. Our testing will cover every method — stenographic, voice and automatic speech recognition — with the same content, at the same speeds and at the same required accuracy and content captioned. Anyone wishing to be certified by the Global Alliance will be required to pass the same test.

The Global Alliance advocacy work has begun! Here are some highlights:

  • We have spoken with state commissions for deaf and hard of hearing to guide them in how to recommend to their state legislatures ways to make hearings, meetings and online content fully accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • In September we will attend a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on live closed captioning quality metrics and the use of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technologies.
  • We have formed an Alliance with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and in October and November we will sponsor the Walk4Hearing events in Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; and Phoenix, AZ.
  • This fall we will sponsor the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) at its ALDACon 2019 in Kansas City, MO.

Your all-volunteer Global Alliance Board of Directors continues to work hard behind the scenes. We believe in our mission and vision, and we hope you do too. We want and need your support. Come join us as, together, we advance captioning for all!

From the Secretary

As we enter our fourth week of the Founding Members campaign and are answering all sorts of questions, I was thrilled to take a phone call from a television station manager last week.  New to his position, he was reaching out because he knew the captioning quality on his station was not to the level that he wanted it to be.  He asked for solutions.  I inquired how the captions were being generated currently.  These were questions he did not have the answers to…yet.  As soon as there are answers, we will offer solutions to his current dilemma.  The Global Alliance is committed to making a difference to the world of captioning….one email, one phone call at a time, if that’s what it takes.

This is where it will take everyone who cares about quality captioning to make a difference.  We have a lot of support from consumers and captioners.  Everyone asks:  What can I do to help?  Here’s how you can help.  Become a Founding Member.  We have a lot of cheerleaders!  Now we want to build our team.  When you become a Founding Member, you will have the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board.  This is where philanthropic activities will be created, relationships with other organizations will be formed, all while giving input to the Board of Directors about lobbying and legislative opportunities.  This opportunity ends on October 31.

We understand not everyone can afford to be a Founding Member. However, we do offer a 12-month payment plan!  If being a Founding Member is not right for you, we hope you will join us once general membership opens November 1.  All members will have a voice by serving on committees and voting on issues brought before the Global Alliance as a whole. 

We have listed all of our Founding Members to date in our newsletters.  We hope to see your name on that list next week!

From the Treasurer

“Oh, you are a voice writer?”  I get this question a lot.  “So you just parrot what you hear, right?” I wish it were that easy.  Life would be simpler. I wouldn’t have to concern myself with troublesome words such as their/there/they’re, piece/peace, marry/merry/Mary, our/hour/are, et cetera. But I am no parrot.   I don’t have the luxury of speaking what I hear.  I am a voice captioner, and I would better describe it as being a voice author, writing a realtime book, except I don’t often know much more than the general topic beforehand.

Some think it is the software that does all the work, but it is just a tool.  How and what I speak and the way I speak it are what ultimately create the captions.  I voice what I hear in a manner the speech recognition software prefers so I can feed that into my computer-aided transcription software for formatting and output it to the consumer.  In a nutshell, every word I speak matters and even the pauses I have between words matter. 

Because realtime is my life, I live and breathe acronyms, memorize voice commands for word/number combinations, and spend hours creating those voice commands that allow me to produce accurate captions.  From the very beginning of training, I learned voice shorthand.  Eventually, I was able to speak easily at the speed of 250 to 300 words per minute, all while keeping my accuracy at 99% or better.  After each assignment, I review my “notes” to evaluate my voice for a more accurate translation.

Being a captioner is the toughest job I have ever loved.  Now that I am part of the Global Alliance, I can be part of a group that helps to ensure that the general public understands what quality captioning looks like and how to achieve it.  We are building an amazing network that will continue advocating for better standards in the captioning industry.  I am so excited to work with the Global Alliance to make an impact all over the world.