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There is an excellent FAQ about all aspects of closed captioning, written by Gary D. Robson. Its URL is:

See also Jamie Berke's Captioning Web at

Deaf People's Careers Hurt by Lack of Full Access

These messages were on a local BBS. I just had to share them with Deaf-L readers to demonstrate how lack of full access to multimedia hurts the careers of deaf people. If we ever needed proof of why laws are needed to require captions, this is it.

Someone posted the following message:

To: All
Subject: Closed Captioned Videos

HELP!!I'm interested in becoming a Certified Network Engineer (CNE). Novell has training videos that will prepare a person to take the test. HOWEVER, they are NOT closed-captioned.

Where can a person have a video closed captioned and about how much does it cost? I am gonna try to get my agency to foot the bill if possible. Also, any ideas as to how long it takes? Any help would be appreciated as always.

Someone else made the following reply:

Subject: Re: Closed Captioned Videos

Write to Novell in Utah. If you do, I will. Novell also has a BBS at 1-801-429-7787.

The company should caption their videos - not the customers.

(Contributed by Jamie Berke at 10 Apr 1995.)

Why do I see scrambled captions?

  1. The most common way to get scrambled captions is when a TV station decides to "compress" the video... for example, Fox compresses "Married with Children" when it plays at 11 pm... It is believed that they play the video at 95% speed, which looks fine to most people, but it causes problems with caption display.

    The reason for this was said to save some costs - gives them more time for commercials.

  2. A bad video signal...snowy pictures or whatever don't always transmit captions correctly.

  3. A bad TV or decoder chip.

  4. Loose cables for separate decoder boxes.

  5. Changing the channel (a caption can get "stuck"...but it should fix itself after a short time).

(Contributed by Cynthia M. King at 11 Oct 1995.)

Last update date: 
2005 Dec 15