I Don’t Mean to Be Patronising But …

Joe finds me patronising

Or rather he will do as soon as I’ve made a donation via paypal and added a (semi) permanent link on these pags to his Micropatronage drive. What’s it all about then?

Joe Clark is looking to write/create some standards for captioning and dubbing (a real bugbear of his when people get it wrong, something with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation seem to do on a regular basis, much to his annoyance). He’s also looking to develop training courses for captioning and dubbing, as well as design and create new fonts specifically for captioning.

But all this takes time, and time is money. Joe’s estimating a $7 million price tag for this, but he’s not looking to raise all that money, rather he’s seeking patronage to pay him an income for a few months while he goes about seeking funding for the project.

Here’s a bit more detail about what Joe is hoping to achieve:

I’ve been working for four years to set up the Open & Closed Project, which will do a couple of rather big things:

  • Write a set of standards (how-to manuals) for four fields of accessibility – captioning, audio description, subtitling, and dubbing. (This is not Web accessibilty except to the extent that Web sites use multimedia with one or more of those features.) The standards will be based on evidence and research. Where either of those is missing, we’ll carry it out ourselves. It will take four years to write the standards, which will be done in an open process. (Again, this is not Web accessibility. It also isn’t the WCAG Samurai.) Then we’ll test them for a year and fix whatever doesn’t work. The published standards will not be open-source or public-domain, but will be freely downloadable (and available in print and other formats at a cost).
  • Next, we’ll develop training and certification programs. At that point, it will finally be possible to go to school to become a certified practitioner of captioning, audio description, subtitling, or dubbing, and it will also be possible for TV networks, movie studios, producers and distributors, and regulators to require accessibility services to be Open & Closed Project–certified.
  • We’re also going to work on a universal file format for the four fields of accessibility, which has been attempted several times before with no success.
  • We’ll design and test new fonts for captioning and subtitling. In fact, that activity is already underway and has been for nearly two years.

You can find out more about the Micropatronage here, learn more about the Open and Close project here, donate some funds to keep Joe in coffee for the next few months or grab one of the many banners to put on your site.
I don’t claim to know much (or anything, really) about this topic but wish Joe well with this. Maybe afterwards, we’ll all have a greater understanding about captioning and dubbing.

Filed under: Accessibility, Standards
Posted by Ian on Thursday, November 9, 2006

1 Comment

  1. So says Martin

    Good on Joe Clark!

    P.S. I’m deaf, require captions on TV (I can’t stand TV shows that doesn’t provide captions - it’s like reading a moving picture book) and think that TV tuner manufacturers should always make sure captions have a black background to white text (FusionHDTV TV tuner cards just show white text in front of a non-existent background, sometimes in front of the moving picture in “white” colour, therefore captions disappeared!).

    Added November 9, 2006 at 3:28 pm

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