SW Video Captions Receptive Expressive

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Apr 15 15:05:35 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
April 15, 2007

Kelly Jo wrote:
> I have one question about captioning signed videos... As a hearing  
> person, I know I like captioning on my favourite TV shows because I  
> can read the captioning if I miss what the actors said... but I can  
> look at the captioning and listen to the dialogue at the same time  
> because I'm using two different senses.  With signed videos, you  
> have to choose whether you're reading the captioning or watching  
> the signing.  Is it really that useful?

Smile! I am only guessing, but I bet this may be the difference  
between people who use signed language as their daily language,  
versus people who use it as a second language...it may be a matter of  
skill within the language, and also a developed peripheral vision  
that perhaps Deaf people have more than I do...I have noticed I am  
not as good at it myself but Adam said it was no problem for him...so  
all that is interesting...

But it has some of the same utility that you and I use English  
captions to back up what was said if we didn't hear the English...

ASL captions on ASL videos will be more rare in time is my  
guess...they are more for demonstration of the writing system and  
showing how the symbols look in relationship to the real-life  
signing...at least that is one use for them...

I actually like Expressive writing on ASL videos too...I have no  
problem with it and in many ways it can help people to have  
Expressive writing...it doesn't have to match the video one hundred  
percent to still be useful...so we can choose different formats...

> I like the SW captioning, don't get me wrong... I just think it  
> would be more useful on spoken videos than signed videos.  Just a  
> thought...

I agree that it will be very useful on spoken-language videos! And  
those need to be Expressive because that is what we read fast...

> As for receptive vs. expressive captioning (on the assumption that  
> nobody else agrees with what I said above - smile!), I personally  
> like expressive because that's what I'm used to reading... even  
> though it doesn't match what I see the signer doing, it looks more  
> natural to me.  Of course, for people who are used to reading  
> receptive SW like Val, Charles and some of the others... for you,  
> it might look more natural to see receptive captioning.

Actually, believe it or not, not for me...In this case, I found it  
confusing because I wanted to analyze how Adam had written the  
Receptive writing, and the video was so fast I could not concentrate  
on the details of the writing...

So thank you, Adam, for sending the Receptive writing of the signs to  
us separately and I will get to that shortly...

> What would be a reason for switching from expressive to receptive  
> within a document?  I know there was a suggestion that in a  
> conversation one "speaker" might be written expressively and the  
> other receptively, but having the three lanes to mimic body posture  
> would handle that more naturally than even quotation marks.  Are  
> there any other reasons?

I notice that Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa from Brazil, and also  
others working with animation and videos, have chosen the Receptive  
view for animation and video and that is how this conversation  
started...so obviously there are people who like it..

It just might be a preference...and that is fine. But I doubt it will  
become the norm...so don't worry. Expressive is our publication tool  
and you can continue to read it and use it...the writing system is  

Val ;-)

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