In a world where good enough is acceptable, when it comes to closed captioning, like democracy and the free relay of information, accuracy can never be lumped into the culture of good enough.
What is the culture of good enough?
The culture of good enough is exemplified by thinking the product is complete because there is an audio track and a visual image embedded in your media.
The culture of good enough is thinking that you’ve proofed your closed captions by looking at them and not by reading them with the sound off.
It’s not your fault. You’re not trained to look for errors. You’re trained to complete the product. How many editors and producers received As in high school English? How many have masters’ degrees in English? How many can speak a foreign language or conjugate a verb correctly?
Just because you can use a hammer doesn’t mean you can build a staircase, because the process of building a staircase is much more than hammering a nail. It’s measuring, it’s understanding definitions of stringers, footers, risers, etc.
It is a more complex action to build a staircase than to use a staircase, but if you are using an ill-built staircase you do notice that tread that is an eighth of an inch higher than the rest because you constantly trip over it.
Welcome to the culture of good enough.
The hell with good enough. Good enough crashed the Internet by not including security into the internet of things around the house. Good enough is why there are potholes in every street in your neighborhood. Good enough is why people don’t pick up after their dogs on the sidewalk. Good enough is why you just rolled though that stop sign instead of fully stopping while reading this post while you’re driving, because when it comes to driving, you’re good enough.
Your good enough is not good enough, it never has been, but laziness makes it so.
Imagine the sentence, I am dead. Three words. Change it to, I am not dead. A single transcription error will change the context and meaning of not only that sentence but the context and meaning of the entire piece that the sentence is housed in.
Captioning is cheap, but because it doesn’t cost much doesn’t mean that you can get away with not doing it or relying on robo-captioning or cheap and inexperienced transcriptionists and captioners to get you there.
How many clients and customers are you devaluing by ignoring this simple step in your workflow?
How many friends, relatives and strangers are you saying that you simply don’t care about?
How many times, when you have hearing issues, will you blame yourself for contributing to the silence and lack of action?
How many times do we have to say help before you change your ways?
Time will tell, but it won’t be telling anything to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing very soon, or ever.
Your work is not good enough. Fix it or stop trying to tell us it is.
It’s your choice. What is our choice? Simple, we stop watching your media. We stop watching the advertisements that go with your media stream. We stop. We check out. We stop caring about you and your product until you care about us.
We’re not asking for you to include accurate captioning. We are telling you to do so. And it’s not just us. It’s the FCC, the ADA and your friends and family.
We are here, and we are watching. But not for much longer because, frankly, in the larger scheme of things, your media isn’t really all that important and we can go and fulfill our lives with other things and other thoughts. You may not be able to reach us or connect with us and that’s your fault.
The failure to communicate is the failure to inform. Therefore, inaccuracy in transcription and captioning does not allow the Deaf and hard-of-hearing an equal footing in this society and that, most certainly, is not good enough.