Choosing captioned options is an essential first step

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Thursday, 16 July 2015 13:52pm

In many subjects, students (and teachers) have a choice about which texts or resources to study. For students who use captions, it makes sense to choose texts or resources that have captioned film versions available.

Finger pointing to the text "English Captions: Yes [Descriptive subtitles for the hearing impaired]" on the back of a DVD box

Captioned versions are available across a wide-range of formats, and in some cases multiple formats, for example: DVD, catch-up TV (such as ABC iView, SBS On-Demand), video on demand (e.g. iTunes, Netflix) or in a number of other media. 

In Australia, around two-thirds of mainstream entertainment DVDs are released with captions. For catch-up TV and video on demand services, you can review the table in Media Access Australia’s recent report on caption levels for these media as they vary considerably.

You can also look at Stagetext’s captioned theatre online to see if any high-quality filmed versions of live stage productions from the UK are available as a digital download for rent or purchase.

A tip when reviewing possible choices: search for captioned titles and select from them.

With most education authorities providing a broad choice, there are usually some captioned options available. For example, reviewing the NSW HSC English studies list, a quick search found that a number of texts with captioned video versions are included. (Please note that this is just a sample list and there may be many others with captioned versions available and in other formats as well).

  • Life of Pi (DVD)
  • Hamlet (iTunes)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries (DVD and iTunes with subtitles)
  • Go Back To Where You Came From (SBS on Demand)
  • A Beautiful Mind (DVD)
  • Romulus My Father (DVD)
  • Educating Rita (DVD)
  • The Great Gatsby (1974 version with Robert Redford, DVD)
  • The Great Gatsby (2013 version with Leonardo di Caprio, iTunes)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (DVD)
  • The Crucible Stagetext online captioned theatre

In summary, the primary choice should be around the best text or resource from a study/interest perspective, but that could include some where captioned versions are available.

“The most common question we are asked by teachers is around which resources are captioned,” said Media Access Australia CEO, Alex Varley.

“If you do a bit of quick research beforehand, it shouldn’t be too hard to create a list of captioned resources that can helpful in selecting which texts those students are going study, rather than selecting the text first and then hoping that there is a captioned version available.”

The CAP THAT! website also includes information on finding captioned resources.

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