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Reading SoundsClosed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture$
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Sean Zdenek

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226312644

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226312811.001.0001

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(p.107) Four Logocentrism
Reading Sounds

Sean Zdenek

University of Chicago Press

Despite a growing awareness of the importance of closed captioning among the general public, closed captioning is still routinely confused with speech-only subtitling. This chapter is organized around two approaches to closed captioning – undercaptioning and overcaptioning – that reflect major confusions over what it means to provide full access for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. Whereas undercaptioning equates closed captioning with subtitling by leaving out or minimizing non-speech sounds/information, overcaptioning artificially and intrusively elevates speech sounds, even when such sounds only serve as background, ambient, or “keynote” noise. When indistinct speech sounds are captioned verbatim, captioners play god. Logocentrism is a new term for caption studies that asks us to reflect on the relationships between speech and non-speech sounds. Applied to caption studies, logocentrism refers to the act of privileging speech and the neglect of (or misunderstanding of the complex roles played by) non-speech.

Keywords:   logocentrism, undercaptioning, overcaptioning, subtitling, speech transcription

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