11 May 2011 ~ Comments

Phone Call Captioning

Technological advances are continually changing the way we do things in our everyday lives. From enhancements to education and entertainment to improvements in how we regularly communicate, new technologies have created a tremendous amount of access that is available right from our fingertips.

Perhaps what is even more exciting, though, is the use of new technological advances in providing greater accessibility to those who need it the most. Over the course of many years, for example, closed captioning has become more and more readily available as a result of gradual improvements in technology.

More recently, there have been additional technological breakthroughs that have provided greater accessibility to people with disabilities. A good example of this can be found in a new service offered by Clear Captions, a company that is certified by the FCC to provide telephone captions for hard-of-hearing people.

Rather than missing important portions of telephone conversations, or even not being able to communicate on the phone at all, people that are hard-of-hearing can now use Clear Captions to see a complete transcript of what the person on the other line is saying to them.

This important new tool is available to anyone who has a phone and a computer with an Internet connection. The phone captioning service offered by Clear Captions is free for all qualified users and the software is available for use on a MAC, PC, and even an iPad or iPod. Users can even get their captions on the go with the free app available for the iPhone.

As exciting as these kinds of technological advances are, it is still important to note the limitations facing most new technologies while they are in developmental infancy. Specifically, the use of voice recognition software for automated captions has yet to demonstrate a consistent ability to provide accurate captions for video content.

This issue has been addressed previously in this blog, but it certainly bears repeating. Until voice recognition and automation show improvements in its accuracy, captioning of video content, especially in regards to televised or web-based video, should be left to a professional captioning company that can provide the accuracy and accessibility that all people deserve.

As for the phone captioning service provided by Clear Captions, time will tell how well the service performs. In the meantime, though, it is certainly an exciting new option to create accessibility for hard-of-hearing people. Technological advances will continue to progress at a rapid pace and, hopefully, will result in continual improvement in making various forms of media and communication more accessible to everyone.

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