The Inadequacy of Subtitles for Hearing-Impaired Viewers' Total Comprehension of Television MessagesBy Medical News Today,
Publication Date: December 3, 2008
Study explored the effect of subtitles on hearing-impaired adolescents’ comprehension of television programs. Twenty hearing-impaired adolescents aged 12 to 19 participated in the study conducted at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, in Spain. Participants were asked to explain what was happening in a fragment of a TV program shown first with no sound, then with sound, and finally with sound and subtitles. Participants’ comprehension of the action increased from 30 percent during viewing with no sound, to 40 percent with the addition of sound and subtitles. According to researchers, these results indicate that for hearing-impaired teenagers, subtitles as currently presented are not an adequate aid to comprehension. Two subsequent studies carried out with hearing-impaired children, one group of seven aged 6 to 7, and the other of 16 children aged 7 to 10, used subtitles created by the researchers themselves, using new speed and text-selection criteria, for the second study group. Comprehension of the program fragment shown was 65.5 percent in the second group, compared to only 2 percent in the first group. Recommendations based on these study outcomes include: (1) subtitling only essential information that cannot be deduced by the images; and (2) offering a choice of subtitles with different levels of language complexity to accommodate viewers of different ages and at different stages of reading comprehension.
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Link to text: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/131637.php