Closed captions / by kevin murray

I absolutely love close captions, but I'm not necessarily the audience that close captioning is suppose to appeal to.  With the exception of sports and comedy (the former I don't need to read their commentary, and the latter I don't want to spoil the punch line) I prefer close captioning for all my other viewing experiences.   Closed captioning actually increases my attention to the show that I am watching. 


Although my hearing is fine, sometimes the enunciation on the program I am watching is something less than desired or it's muddled or it's easily misunderstood.  Closed captioning allows me to get the clarity of what is being said.  You could also say the reason that I like close captioning so much is that my favorite activity is reading.  I love reading the written word and while reading I can read at my own pace and thoughtfulness.  While watching a TV program since the words are spoken I am forced to listen to the pace of that speech, which I find somewhat annoying, especially when I have a pretty good idea what the next line is going to be.  Having the spoken words scrolled along the bottom of the screen actually keeps me more engaged, and ultimately because this is the written word it allows for greater comprehension, because when you mishear a word it can change the entire complexion of a given scene.


Although close captioning was ostensibly setup to help those that are hard of hearing, people whose reading comprehension is poor or needs improvement, and peoples that do not have English as their native tongue, it can encompass a much wider range of the population as it does in my particular case.  Another advantage of closed captioning is that when you are watching a program with someone that likes to talk or interrupt you, you still have the ability to pick up what was being said by reading it at the bottom of the screen, that way you aren't forced to re-run or pause a given scene which is even more annoying. 


Another benefit of closed captioning is it gives me the opportunity to know how to correctly pronounce a given word.  There are a few words that trip me up now and again, and by virtue of closed captioning I get the luxury of reading the word and hearing the correct pronunciation.


Of course, while this isn’t a benefit, another thing that I love to see, is when they write down the wrong word such as "illusion" when the appropriate word is "allusion" given the context of the show.  Also, you will see words that are pronounced the same but they will display perhaps "bear" when they really should have put down "bare".  I love noticing that stuff and chuckling to myself.  Usually, however, they get it right which is the most desirable thing.


While I'd be the first to admit unless you are going to a special showing at a movie theatre that most patrons would find close captioning to be distracting, it's the perfect accompaniment at home.  Also, I was delighted when the Metropolitan Opera added closed captioning to their performances in which you can watch the translated words scroll upon the horizontal LCD screen on the seatback in front of you.  Of course, this is completely voluntary, you don't have to do it, but most people do.