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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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Cultural Literacy, Sonic Allusions, and Series Awareness

Cultural Literacy, Sonic Allusions, and Series Awareness

(p.219) Seven Cultural Literacy, Sonic Allusions, and Series Awareness
Reading Sounds

Sean Zdenek

University of Chicago Press

Captioners need to be able to identify sounds from the past, not simply describe sounds phonetically. Songs, lyrics, and other television show themes may also need to be identified in the captions. Cultural literacy can also be applied at the global level of the individual television series: recurring sounds over multiple episodes can take on a special resonance. Captioners need to know which series sounds are significant and how they have been captioned in previous episodes. For the most part, cultural literacy has not been included in our public discussions of quality captioning or what captioners need to know. Accuracy and completeness – two key criteria for measuring quality – tend to be defined technically and simply: a misspelled word, a dropped caption, a poor transcription. Drawing on a range of examples, this chapter explores how captioning is more than an empty skill or decontextualized practice. Captioners need to draw on a deep well of knowledge – how much and what kinds of knowledge are always dependent on context – in order to identify significant sonic allusions, including allusions that have been remixed, (re)covered, and/or recontextualized.

Keywords:   cultural literacy, sonic allusions, accuracy, recontextualization, remix, inference, haziness, intertextuality, schemata, fragment

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