Deaf visitor's experience of museum tour with remote live subtitles
Richard Turner, who became deaf very suddenly three years ago, describes his first experience of a guided tour of the British Library's Propaganda and Power exhibition, which was made accessible through live subtitles provided remotely via hand-held tablets (see photo, left).
Read his wonderful blog here.
'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. Ecstatic joy when such talks supported by speech-to-text, transcribed onto the screen, came on the scene. It is brilliant! The Stagetext speech-to-text reporters 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 hearing aid (cochlear implant).
The STT talks have been held in wonderful places, such as Buckingham Palace, the Wellcome Collection, the Royal Academy of Arts, at theatres when there are talks before or after the show, like the 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, it’s much better than nothing. Stagetext and speech-to-text transcription has brought me much satisfaction.'
'It’s been really interesting to see that STT isn’t only helpful for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people. Hearing visitors and people with an academic interest in art and cultural activities have also found the text helpful,” says Deepa. Statistics gathered after the talks bear this out. At a recent talk, 57% of visitors found the speech-to-text extremely useful, despite only 15% of the audience having declared themselves as having a hearing loss and needing the service at the time of booking.'
One deafened visitor told us: 'The talk gave me a fascinating and invaluable lesson about art. It was the first time I’d seen live speech-to-text in action and it was great. There were about six lines so you could look at the picture and not lose your place. This is the way forward in access to museums and galleries for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people.'