Captioning ASL vlogs

This topic seems to always come up, but I have a fairly strong opinion about it, so I want to write a little blurb.

It's true, the Hearing world seems to make very little effort to provide D/HoH with quality captions.  So why in the world should we caption ASL vlogs?  If the Hearing want access, let them learn ASL, right???  Here are the reasons I think we should at least attempt to caption our ASL vlogs:

1.  Lots of HoH and late-deaf don't know ASL, or are learning but are not fluent enough to follow along. I am HoH/late-deaf and I definitely have an interest in keeping up with the issues.  I've been learning ASL for 4 years now and quality captioned vlogs like Seek Geo have helped me enormously to learn more common ASL.

2. Hearing people that have a vested interest in the issues may not know ASL at all.  Think about family members, teachers and medical professionals involved with D/HoH kids.  We should certainly want to help educate them about the issues, since that is in our best interests as a group.  But if they visit a vlog and it's not captioned, then we just lost that opportunity.  Who knows, maybe a captioned vlog will spark an interest not only in the issue, but also learning ASL!!

3.  Captioning vlogs can help Deaf improve their English.  This is always a good thing, right?  A Deaf friend of mine pointed out this benefit to me a while back, and I think it's great.


MM said…
The very people demanding everyone else comply to them are the very sector refusing to comply to anyone else, even other deaf. We've seen it here,it's elitism driven by fear they can't cope. "My wife doesn't understand me.." syndrome. Well we won't unless the communication is appropriate for us to do that. Only one sector loses, the ASL or BSL stand alone one, since the rest of us will go where the access is. Makes no sense to not give others an 'in' to sign, who loses ? The anti-captioning sector just looks discriminatory.
GoingBerdyKat said…
I completely agree with all you've stated. Truly, captioning ASL vlogs benefits everyone - not just the hearing because as you pointed out, not everyone who is deaf can sign.

It definitely helps us who are studying ASL if the vlogs are captioned too. To the anti-captioning sector who think the hearing should learn to sign instead of asking to get the vlogs captioned, I say, "I agree everyone should learn ASL (but that's just my opinion), but a little help please???"
Seek Geo said…
Great post!! I want to say many thanks for mentioning my name. It always make me feel good knowing I can make the difference for many out there with me providing captions. I am all for equal access.

Yes, I have heard so many times how they would say "let hearing learn ASL!"

This do NOT make any sense, it's like saying "want to watch a Spanish film? Learn Spanish!"

Many, many foreign films have English subtitles so ALL of us who speak English can enjoy watching their movies. Same goes with American films in other countries, they have subtitles to meet their needs as well.

Not like we would learn a foreign language that takes months/years just to enjoy one film. Same concept with ASL videos, no way we would expect to force others learning ASL just so they can enjoy ASL videos.

One time, I showed someone a video that has BSL and he couldn't understand most of it. I said to him that then he must learn BSL in order to enjoy the film. My purpose of this is to make a point. :-)

You are right on the money that captioning videos does help to improve English. My English writing have improved a LOT over the years and I am very proud of it.

Again, great post and thank you!
Aaron said…
Good points Geo!
Anonymous said…
Hello ! I am an ASL 4 student at a college in milwaukee. I must say I am hearing and have a passion for the language hence why I have stuck with the classes. I read your blog and I am in agreement with you that ASL vlogs could be more helpful if they are captioned for others to understand. Like I just mentioned I am a 4th level student who is learning ASL and I have a hard time understanding some vlogs I have watched. It isn't just bcause I don't know all the signs it just is because I find that everybody signs differently and some peopel have different signs for words than what signs I may have learned and while I am watching the vlogs I catch bits and pieces of it but that sometimes isn't enough to make sense of all of them.
I know people who post these vlogs say to learn ASL well some people don't have the resources, time, or money to do so and if they want to learn this could be an easier more accessible way for them to learn if videos could be captioned. I am not saying every video should be because by all means sometimes its fun to try to figure out what is being said but if we have a passion and want to understand the vlogger and signers sometimes we need help too! :)

Also what Seek Geo said about how foreign films have subtitles, thats true we don't have to learn that specific foreign language to enjoy that film, because let me tell you I'd not be watching that film for a long time because sometimes learning languages is a long drawn out process...
Michala Wright said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michala Wright said…
well the reason I would like captions because I'm am doing my senior project on ASL and the deaf community. So I would like to be able to watch these vlogs and understand you guys point of view. Yes I am learning ASL but I have to write my paper first. So i have to wait to start learning it completely. I really want to use you guys points of view so i can quote you guys in my paper!!! i believe that this is a really good subject for my paper and project. But if anybody would like to give me there opinions on some ideas that would be gladly appreciated!!

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