Monday, November 5, 2012

False Equivalence: Translating ASL videos

I've seen people calling for ASL videos to be captioned or subtitled. While I agree with this, I don't think it's appopriate to compare it with captioning English.

When you caption English, you're transcribing. When you caption an ASL video, you're translating from one language to another. Even videos created with SEE have features of their own which may or may not make it into a translation.

Again, I think it's a very good thing to make our videos accessible. Pretending it's "just like" hearing people captioning English videos is creating false equivalence for the point of winning an argument.

Anyone who's tried to caption a video made using ASL knows it's not easy, especially if you've got high standards.

Just a thought for today, as I go off to work on videos of my own.

1 comment:

Adrean said...

I agree -- it is extra work, especially when it comes to having the text match up with ASL.

Maybe it's better if we look at it this way -- who is the video for? If the video is specifically targeted to the signing community, then captions/transcripts are optional. I personally prefer to use transcripts in general, except when I want a particular video to reach non-signers. In that case, I add subtitles or captions.