Japanese group uses closed captions to make movies easier

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Japanese group uses closed captions to make movies easier

TOKYO in Japan is a barrier-free subtitle that is designed to make viewing a movie smooth and easy for deaf or hard-of- hearing viewers, describing in captions every audio detail from the dialogue to sound effects and the tone of the music.

They also describe some events and characters on the screen, and have features particular to Japanese closed captions to smooth reading names and terms in kanji characters, all to make the films easier for everyone to take in.

The nonprofit organization Media Access Support Center MASC produces closed captions, audio guides and audio guides for people with blindness or low vision. The center secretary-general Koji Kawano, 58, was working on a computer at the MASC office in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. He has been doing subtitling for 30 years.

Kawano stared at a scene unfolding on his screen, with a look that suggested he was determined not to miss a single sound. He then typed in the characters' movements, such as the ticket gate, as well as the lines, super fast. He listens to the audio and transcribes it into text, using the movie script as a reference only. He avoids summarizing lines, as much as possible, for foreign film subtitles. Some deaf and hard of hearing people want to catch every word.

Kawano also tries to avoid expressions that are hard to understand for people who have never heard the sound. For example, the sound of knocking on a door is labeled as knocking on the door instead of ton-ton knock-knock Other efforts include changing words originally written in kanji characters to katakana phonetic syllabary to make them easier to read, and adding the readings to the kanji names of characters appearing for the first time, so everyone can grasp the story smoothly. It takes about two weeks to complete a closed captioned film.

Kawano described closed captions for people with hearing disabilities as something that can be used for everyone. He hopes to address the needs of Japan's aging population. These captions can be an important tool for people who become hard of hearing as they get older to enjoy movies.

In addition, closed caption-capable augmented reality glasses are becoming more popular, which display the captions on the lenses as the story goes along.

There are high expectations for the effort to allow everyone to enjoy entertainment barrier-free.