Remember when the Google glass came out years ago and ended up being not so popular? At the time, I wasn’t aware that the product had been designed to include the function of Live Captioning; while researching this I found this video of the product being used in a quiet setting.

Youtube Video of two people testing Google Glass’s function of Live Captioning. Closed Captions are available on this video.

There are many great resources you can use to transcribe speech to text on apps/browsers online. These resources work by either turning on the live transcribing function or uploading prerecorded audio files – a few I have used in the past are Webcaptioner, Google Transcribe App, Descript. (Each mentioned names are all hyper-linked which will lead you to its own websites)

I came across a blog by Sean Zdenek (author of ‘[reading] [sounds] Closed-Caption Media and Popular Culture’) which explores numerous examples of closed caption. I found the Music and Non-speech section particularly informative; the author dissects closed captions utilised in films and discusses how they could be improved for the audience and storytelling. If you’re interested in this resource, the Music section can be found here and the Non-speech section can be found here.

The language of closed captions/subtitles can vary depending on the choice of subtitler and filmmaker. Sometimes music and non-speech subtitles can help with the storytelling or it can be distracting to the story being told.

With this in mind, I have been interested in how the use of subtitles can change the context of content. I found an interesting example of this in a video by Dr. Jorge Díaz-Cintas for University College London.

Youtube video of The Rise of Subtitling – the lecture held by Dr. Jorge Díaz-Cintas in UCL. Closed Captions are auto-generated on this video.

This video showcases former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and former US president Donald Trump standing next to each other during a televised event. The subtitles shown at the bottom of screen tell a comical rendition of the event that differs to reality. The audience recorded viewing this video can be heard laughing as it is clear that the subtitles are purposefully inaccurate. Although this manipulation is intentional, the body language of the two politicians seems to reflect the subtitles, making a comical juxtaposition between fiction and reality. The subtitle can evoke different emotions within the audience and also can dramatically change the perception of an event as well. The actual lecture discusses the concept of audio-visual translation and how subtitles can play an important role in terms politically, socially, and culturally on web/TV contents being shared and seen by people.

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