LL the Portmanteau video: What is Your Language? | No More Craptions

Subtitles and captions are the sound for the majority of your viewers.

What is your language?

I will now read to you what I wrote.

Many things shape our personality, experiences, perception of reality, our informed decision-making, but I’ve recently been able to draw a circle around one particular fact about myself with which I have differed from pervasive paradigm, and which, in combination with needing to live within the common paradigm, inevitable makes that differing aspect stand out in the formation of my reality.

That circle is that I am hard of hearing.  From the outside, I sit between worlds. Not hearing enough, not deaf enough. I’ve been deriving the explanations for my reality from within the paradigm of a loud and silent world. When the eyes of your awareness open, it colours every fraction and nuance of your reality. 

What is the method you employ for communication and expression that makes you feel safe, in control, understood, understanding, whole, and true?

My language is not speech nor signing. But duality is not the truth, multiples and nuances exist. Just like limbo is a concept in itself despite its intrinsic value of in-betweenness and conceptual relevance to a duality of life and death, just like being bi is a orientation in itself rather than a pendulum between genders, just like the concept of now can be understood without the duality of past and future, so can I and my language exist: the written word.

That is my element, my reality, my communication, my core, 
the tangibility of a rope of letters to which I can cling in the stormy oceans of in-between, and feel at ease. 

Language is a key to differing perspectives and interactions with the world. Many deaf people communicate visually, and thus, more physically. Body language and understanding communication through a person’s physicality is part of a deaf person’s intelligence and therefore much more likely to be a language from within which dance is in close reach rather than the leap deaf dancers are assumed to need to take due to the hearing paradigm’s assumption of intrinsically viewing dance as an extension to an audible world. 

In the hearing paradigm, dance is seen as an extension, a visual expression of: music. Dance sits within sounds. Noise. Audible creativity. It isn’t shape which stands at the core of dance - as it should be - nor athleticism, nor language and communication. No, music and sound is seen as the core from which dance is drawn like fluffy strings of cotton candy pulled from crystal sugar.
But when one stops to view the actuality of the act of dance in itself, it is much more obvious that a deaf person has a higher tendency to find beautiful expression within dance. 
It is in fact not a leap but a visual, physical extension of an established understanding of body language.
Since bodily expression is already a deaf person’s language, dance becomes poetry.

But I am hard of hearing. I can see dance from a deaf point of view of understanding the communication of physical expression of beauty, but I also love music. I hear music, I feel music, but most of all, with dance, I can see music.


I can marvel in the poetry of concrete expression of sound. Dance, for me, is the portmanteau of my in-betweenness, the form of beauty and poetry which keeps me company in my lonely limbo world.

Now apply this to writing. 
Written words are the manifestation of speech the way dance is perceived to be a manifestation of music.

The visual, concrete written word of writing is my core, my connection to the world. The written word is my language. In World of Wordshape this is elaborated on.

Subtitles and captions are absolutely essential for me. 

I’m merely one person, though, with a very specific illustrative example of a reason, a single combination of the way in which deeply personal realities come together to explain the importance of subtitles when I consume media. 

No more craptions is a campaign by Rikki Poynter.

There are many videos which talk about the advantages of subtitles and captions in detail - many which talk about the fiscal and numerical advantages of the search engine optimisation, the videos aimed at the practical video creator, the one whose views derives from that search of how to do something. 
There are many videos which talk about accessibility, aimed at the creator who cares about being fair and inclusive. 
These videos exist and are true. But if you as a creator don’t fit into either of these categories enough for it to affect a change in your choice, you need to understand just how detrimental to yourself the choice to not apply subtitles and captions is. 

Now I’m addressing you, content creator.

Your content is online, not doing a stand-up in a local pub. The internet is not a local place but the most widespread manifestation of globalisation. Your content is a video, the most comprehensive flat method of communication we currently possess: when you create you care about sound, sight, speed, noise, information, beauty, entertainment. But here’s the reality you ignore when you don’t use subtitles in your videos: the following category is a big, big number. 

People for whom the language of a piece of media is not the first language are the majority of media consumers. Let me repeat this: the majority of your viewers’ understanding of what you are saying increases exponentially with subtitles. Without subtitles, the majority of your viewers is highly likely to miss out on a big chunk of what you are saying. The majority. Did you get that? Majority. Ignoring the needs of it is, to put it simply, foolish.

I am only one story.
But examples and reasons and combinations thereof are wide and varied. 

For that majority, which deaf and hard of hearing people, and people with auditory processing disorder are merely a part of, you deliberately decrease understanding when captions and subtitles are inaccurate, deliberately sit behind an automated ball launcher in the direct light of the sun while expecting the player to catch each and every single ball. 

What is your language? What is the method you employ for communication and expression that makes you feel safe, in control, understood, understanding, whole, and true?
Think of this language and imagine it being deliberately tampered with. 

As a dancer, imagine somebody stepping out of beat. As a musician, imagine somebody singing off key. As a filmmaker, imagine a cut just off frame, unintentionally blurry and askew. As a mathematician, imagine paths to the solution skipping several steps. That is what inaccurate captions do to me. 

It is astounding to me that you would care so little for your own creation and the intended communication thereof - to the majority of your audience - that you allow it to be tainted, tampered with, diminished. Take control and responsibility for your creation. You wouldn’t think of adding sound that is not in sync with what can be seen on the screen and say that you have no control over it, act as though you only added sound out of the goodness of your heart, hint that sound can easily be switched off at the push of a button. Subtitles and captions are the sound of the majority of your viewers.

Have you understood this paradigm? Will you add it to the language with which you communicate and create?

What is your language? 

Thank you for captioning your videos.

Thank you to Rikki Pointer for tirelessly working for our sound, the written word.

Please watch the other videos for a more educational, practical, less pretentious take on the #NoMoreCraptions campaign.