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What do you think about automated captioning for live TV and captioned phones? Share your concerns with the FCC via VP 844-432-2275 or email DRO@fcc.gov. #AskHoward

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

HOWARD: Online videos are everywhere! Not every video has captions, but more and more videos are starting to have captions — which is great. However, there are two kinds of online videos with captions — one is the kind for which people manually create caption files carefully and make sure everything is correct; and the other is the kind for which captions are created automatically through speech to text technology. This kind is called Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). ASR technology has been improving slowly. Way back when ASR first came out, the captions were terrible, some of which were pretty funny because of how wrong they were. While ASR has come a long way, it still is not perfect. We know it will improve over time. However, what’s happening now? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now considering the use of ASR for two things. For many years, the captions for live TV (such as the news, the Oscars, and sporting events) were done with people who either create or assist with the captions while making sure they are correct. The FCC is also considering ASR for captioned phones. Some deaf and hard of hearing people use speech to text phones that are connected through the internet to understand the call better. Again, people assist in the creation of captioning for these captioned phones to ensure all information is correct. The FCC is considering ASR for live TV and captioned phones, and basically use only technology and eliminate the use of people to check that the captioning is correct. This is similar to what we are seeing now on the internet with automated captioning. Imagine if similar technology is used for live TV and captioned phones? This should not happen now because the technology is not working that well yet. Perhaps in the future when ASR is more accurate, we can start using this technology but it isn’t ready to be implemented now. The FCC is planning experiments with ASR on TV and phones to see if it will work. We do not want those experiments to affect how we receive information on live TV and captioned phones. We cannot risk the quality of our TV information and phone calls going downhill. We must proceed with any such technology carefully and slowly to ensure that the quality of captioning remains at accurate and reliable levels. Accurate captioning is more important than rushing to do experiments. We have shared our concerns with the FCC and we want you to do the same. If you agree with our concerns, please contact the FCC now. Thank you.

Video fades to a soft white background with several different font types showing “NAD” very quickly. Copyright video ends with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Blue text below the logo appears, “The National Association of the Deaf / (copyright) 2018 All Rights Reserved / www.nad.org”; a yellow highlight of the URL appears at the end.

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