Ginny Kanka: How subtitled talks provided by STAGETEXT reduce the stress of trying to lipread!

Posted on April 9, 2013


For decades, art galleries had FREE lunchtime talks – something I’ve always wanted to go but didn’t – as the talks would have fallen on my deaf ears.

So there was ecstatic joy for me when such talks became supported by live speech-to-text.

It is brilliant! The text is transcribed live and appears on a screen, a bit like live subtitles on television (but without as many mistakes!).

Ginny Kanka pic (1)The speech-to-text reporters provided by STAGETEXT (who also support this site) are consistently first-class, though the speakers at such events are not always so, and the hearing public sometimes have to put up with that!

I’ve been to a fair number of talks supported by live speech-to-text (STT) and I always come away still feeling human and unstressed.  Having the support of STT on the screen means there’s no added stress of trying to lipread and hear what I can from my cochlear implant.

The STT talks have been held in wonderful places, such as Buckingham Palace, the Wellcome Collection, the Royal Academy of Arts, and at theatres when there are talks before or after the show, like the recent Julie Walters in Conversation at the National Theatre where she talked about her acting career and her role in The Last of the Haussmans.

Where humour is used, the speaker is not used to having his/her talk transcribed on screen and is certainly shaken by having delayed laughter from the deaf, deafened and hard of hearing visitors. Watching the speakers has always fascinated me; they either quickly adapt their delivery to the right tempo, or don’t!

After a long time of being excluded from the hearing world at such events, that is now history.  However, although there’s still a limited choice nationally of supported talks for deaf and hard of hearing folks, there’s still so much more than ever before.

To find out more about speech-to-text, go to: http://www.stagetext.org/about-stagetext/what-is-speech-to-text-transcription

You can also find out about upcoming speech-to-text performances and captioned shows at: http://www.stagetext.org/whats-on

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