Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let's Stop, Drop and Roll

You know, we were taught to stop, drop and roll whenever a puff of smoke hinders in a building or in a house. After seeing from debate to debate whether or not ASL vlogs should have subtitles or transcripts, we are not getting anywhere. So that is why I am recommending for us to stop, drop and roll. You can interpret whatever that means to you but let me tell you a thing or two. It looks like that there will be no definite solution because we cannot possibly force a vlogger to provide English text (i.e. captions/transcripts) AND we cannot even possibly force a blogger to provide ASL to translate from their writing but we can share our point of views with respect. My goal of this blog is to provide a balanced view where we can better understand the issue and move on.

Normally, I tend to do ASL video clips and provide English text as much as possible but I am placed under the circumstances that I am not able to do an ASL video blog at this moment. Should I wait until the timing is right to vlog which may take weeks for me? Nah, by the time I release it, this news will be so old (I hope). Should I stop blogging or vlogging just because there are people out there expecting both languages to be presented? Heck, no! Like everyone else, I have the right to decide the way I want to express in my vlog/blog and to feel free to throw in my thoughts. Actually, I don't think anyone is forcing anything but I do see expectations going on here.

It goes the same for you who want to continue to do your vlog without including subtitles and transcripts and it goes the same for you who want to continue to blog without including ASL. But wait..what about those readers who don't comprehend English well may not enjoy reading blogs? What about those viewers who don't comprehend ASL well may not enjoy viewing vlogs? What about the Deaf-Blind people? What about the non-signers? What about...what about..the list goes on and on. Know what? It is your blog or vlog that you get to decide the kind of audience you want to have. You are what you vlog or you are what you blog! Hmm, does that phrase sound familiar to you? Anyway, we have been fighting for communication access and for us not to make an example out of it; does it mean that we are bunch of hypocrites? I have got news for you, people. We all are hypocrites in our way whether we like it or not and that includes this blogger who shamelessly pointed fingers to those who don't provide English texts in their vlogs. Isn't it a hypocrite of him to cry equal access for those who struggle to comprehend English texts that he ends up not providing in ASL? No one has the right to point fingers if they are not practicing what they preach so lay it off!

We know very well that ASL vlogs are not equivalent to TV, movies or news because they do not make money out of it. There are no ads and sponsors for the most of ASL vlogs to provide captions unless the vloggers volunteer to spend more time to add subtitles themselves. That is their choice not to provide English text and it is not even against the law. While I understand that this very same blogger I talked about earlier pointed out that "providing transcripts for vlogs is pretty much the same feeling when someone offers a transcript for a movie or news video instead without providing any captions. It just does not convey the same feeling of something that’s more engaging (i.e. captioned) while watching a video at the same time." You also need to understand that the viewers especially those who use ASL watching ASL vlogs also have to put up with the distraction that they are not able to relax and focus on the message. Instead, they spent the time comparing both languages and thinking how it was translated like saying, "oh that is not the right way to interpret it or look at the subtitles, etc." and they ended up not getting the message. You get the picture, folks.

Closed-captioning has been around us for decades and of course we, the Deaf community, always appreciate that we have this access when it comes to viewing the media that consists a spoken language. When it comes to ASL vlogs, the feelings are not mutual in this DeafRead community and that is what it divides us, unfortunately. The subtitle supporters say it helps them to be more involved in vlogging that they are able to follow vlogs better while they others say they feel more detached from subtitled vlogs and it is like for the hearing to listen to English and French at the same time. It is an ongoing dilemma and one way to stop it is to respect the choice of the b/vlogger how they want to convey their messages.

You know, it is not fair to assume that those who don't provide subtitles or transcripts in their vlogs signals that they are oppressing the others. I honestly don’t believe it is the intention for most ASL vloggers who don’t provide captions or transcript is to oppress the others. They have their own reasons NOT to just like the bloggers have their own reasons NOT to provide in ASL. One of the reasons that the vloggers who are not even there with technological skills to do captioning or even worse that they are not capable to provide transcripts because of their limited English skills. They feel intimated and for those who give this kind of pressure even made them more inferior. On the other hand, one of the reasons that the bloggers chose not to provide ASL may not have the technological skills to do a video clip so again we cannot assume they are oppressing the others who depend on ASL. Just stop this madness!

The only way I could provide an idea to a solution is to RESPECT the v/blogger's choice of language where we all could gain better awareness and sensitivity of the others. It is impossible to please everyone and we have to realize that is a reality. America is full of choices that we can chose what we like to see or read so come on and roll over with me and get out of the friggin' burning house and go to this link.


Virginia said...

Thank you for linking to my post, Barb. I hope others will join you in getting out of that fire and coming over to the Crossroads, where we can all sit together and watch a beautiful video that reminds us about showing courtesy and respect for one another.

Your message is one that we should all remember.

Keep up the great work!

~ Ocean
Deaf Pagan Crossroads

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said, Barb.

There are stage-level categories that the blind people have whereas they will be facing the adjustment in their life.

Depending on their sights, they will face not to see the ASL, captions and transcripts.

I am offended to see that Carl stated, "ASL is clean and pure" in his recent vlog. He expects that Deafblind people can sign clean and pure in ASL, however, they will not see our sign language clearly. I lost my respect in him.

My heart goes to the Deafblind people who will face to shut down their visions later in life.

We should be grateful to have the technology's help so that way we can be include in this part of the community.

White Ghost

Steve said...

There you go, girl!!

Mike McConnell said...

The "Stop. Drop. And roll," is a safety message for people if they themselves get caught on fire...not the house. People tend to panic when they are on fire. If you are on fire, the clothes are burning, best to stop what you're doing (none of that running around giving more oxygen for the fire), drop to the ground, and roll around to help yourself self-extinguish the fire.

Good safety message of the day. Meanwhile, we all can hope that technology will gradually make things easier for all of us, including DB community to feel more inclusive in the deaf community.

brenster- said...

yes, right! when certain bloggers mentioned concerning accessibility for deaf-blind, i knew they had ulterior motivation.

like you said, if vloggers are expected to provide subtitles or at least provide transcripts, then bloggers should be expected to provide ASL versions of their entries! Double standard!

lastly, it's also an issue that English and ASL are TWO completely SEPARATE language. It takes a while trying to figure out the best way to translate from ASL into English. There are many examples in ASL that have no direct equivalent meaning in English. That's another challenge.

Barb DiGi said...

Hi Ocean! You rock!

White Ghost: Yes, it is a sorrow to know our fellow DB viewers are not able to see well or at all. Some people are not comfortable to be tech savvy or going to the distance to provide texts. It would be nice if someone can sponsor several translators to do transcripts or subtitles in this v/blogosphere. Perhaps that will solve the problem. About Carl's message, I understood that he meant by keeping "ASL clean and pure" which is not to mix it with English simultaneously that will influence the viewers to get the impression that ASL signs can be interpreted word for word which is not necessarily the case.

Hi Steve-O! We all go together up, up, and away from the smoke of flames! Hugs oxox

Mike: We know that if there’s smoke in a room, we should be getting down as low as we can and crawl under the smoke. But I just decided to throw in this quote to make it more cautious and perhaps eye-catching way to think about how it applies to this issue that has been going on in DeafRead. Certainly, it a great safety reminder that we can practice this method whenever our clothes are caught on fire. This message is an analogy to what is happening to the DeafRead community that we need to take more safety measures and cautions to prevent the house from burning down. Yes, we all have hopes!

Barb DiGi said...

Great to see you here Brenster! Yes, I dig your point. It is not an easy task translating from ASL to English and it will never be exactly the same way how a meaning is conveyed. Certainly, it is an everlasting challenge that may not have desirable results unless the presenter is signing in PSE like certain vloggers do making it easier to translate in English.

It is important to understand the complexity of providing English text from true ASL vloggers that it will not be exactly expressed in the same way.

Anonymous said...

Gimmie high Five ... That is all a count for Respect!


drmzz said...

Yep. Respect to vlogger's choices, that's all to ask for. Mikie McCon, spare me your technological obsession bullshit. I'll stick with LANGUAGE aka ASL. Get over it, Deaf Voice boy.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! This is a well balanced blog entry explaining the both sides of vlogs and blogs! Well-written post, Barb DiGi!

Know what I have noticed about your blog? Your font is friendly and easy for DB to read as opposed to Mike McCon and Deaf Pundit. Wondered why no one said anything about this? Why pick on adding subtitles and not say anything about blog's font sizes?


kw said...

I'm glad you blogged for a change. Between you and MZ, I'm starting to understand the "other side" a little better. :-) Some of the reasons offered for NOT transcribing or captioning have sounded a bit lame -- such as "if ALL hearing people captioned their vlogs, then I will too. . ." It just sounded like tit for tat.

I also care about Patty and Coco, the Deaf-blind.

I don't think any of us has ever said we wished ALL would transcribe or caption. I have always thanked those for going to the extra effort of transcribing and captioning, because I know it IS a huge effort on their parts-- I know.

What bothered me most was when people got down on SG for captioning his vlogs. It got so ugly just before the DeafRead con, and that's why he left DeafRead.

Why did the others put him down for captioning his own vlog? It wasn't right, and this pressure discouraged others from doing the captioning their vlogs too. That's what started all this.

Anyway-- I don't care. I may or may not continue with the ASL.

Barb DiGi said...

Davy, High five back (smack!)

drmzz: It is up to us how we would want to buy one's claim. Perhaps Mike will benefit from being a salesperson to market tech stuff, heh?

Puzzled: Thanks! I wonder the same too. I have asked this question in Coco's blog but haven't seen her reply to this question.

Hi Kim, well this is the wild, wild west of blogosphere, isn't it? It is unfortunate that certain individuals are being attacked or criticized without having a constructive feedback. I did not have the chance to read everything what was said about SG, but it is understandable that subtitling can be annoying to some viewers. On the other hand, it can be helpful to some viewers. It is just too bad that the discussion was not taken in a constructive open dialogue. Emotions just get in the way.

I have also seen recent debate putting some pressure to caption their vlogs as well. That is why I have emphasized that no one should be forced by feeling pressured.

Kim, I hope that you are able to find ASL users where you are able to use and improve your skills and most importantly of all, have fun with this beautiful language.

IamMine said...

Just got your email right now for this post! :)

I wasn't really around when there was an argument except for CoCo's post did I realize that it was the hot topic on DR.

It's up to the v/blogger, I agree.

Personally, I'd do it with subtitling my videos but I don't have the equipment do it that would make it easy for me to use.

I'm not good at translating either. But I would try if requested.

Anyway... thanks for the wonderful video and many thanks to Ocean, too! :)

Love the free hugs banner, Ocean!!! :D


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that people who commented at Mike McCon's blog don't get it about subtitling. They kept on insisting those who don't use subtitles means they are being hypocrites not making it accessible. First of all Mike's supporters, leave them alone. They need to enjoy the freedom to vlog without having the burden to add captions and to demand them to take the time is not reasonable. Most above all, to add subtitles is a big distraction to ASL. Yes, that is what the big problem is and not all of them intend to reach the audience that don't know signs.