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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Television Captions for Hearing-impaired People: A Study of Key Factors That Affect Reading Performance

This article, written in 1996 by Frank Thorn and Sondra Thorn, addresses the concern that some viewers are not receiving the benefits of captioning because the captions are too small or too fast for them to read. The authors designed a series of experiments to test this theory, focusing on (1) optical blur, (2) presentation speed, and (3) the acquisition of English as a first or second language. (Observers received eye exams before taking part in the study.) The results revealed that "both blur and fast presentation rate dramatically reduced reading accuracy," and those with English as a first language performed better than those who have English as a second language. Suggests simultaneous captioning as a solution to these problems.

Tags: research, captioning

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