Sunday, June 29, 2008

Resolved to Marvel at Captioning - Interpreter Hell Incarnate

Movie Viewing Date: June 29th, 2008
Movie Title: Resolved
Reviewed By: Mike Wilkerson - The 2GuysTalking Caption Hunt


In the span of my Hard of Hearing-Interpreter career, I have only experienced what I have considered "interpreter hell" a very few times. The stand up comediant referring to the interpreter on stage, testing the interpreter to see "how far they will go" to convey information. Situations that showcase physical proximity to dangers both environmental and legitimate physical harm. They've all been a piece of what is the history of my Interpreting career. I have always prided myself on being able to collect the details of a line of dialogue, an overall argument - to absorb information and be able to translate that to American Sign Language in its many incarnations and provide that to my previous clients. "Resolved" - an outstanding movie on HBOHD this morning showcased the true reality if what would be Interpreter Hell, and why I have never had the opportunity to interpret competitive high school and collegiate debate.

Opinion Review:

What I have found most satisfying about this on-going series of Caption Hunt Reviews is that it has allowed me to not only enjoy an outstanding home theater (called "The Shire"), it also has opened doors to programs that I probably would have never had the interest in watching ot listening to. This movie, "Resolved" was something I probably would have skipped on by, except that I read that it involved debate. While debate was something I dabbled in in high school, the skills, jargon and sheer annunciation skill that I saw in the first several minutes of this truly made my ears and mind spin, wondering just how on Earth I would/could interpret this dialoging bonanza and the answer would have been very much like a very fast country, rock, death-metal or rap song, where I can understand a word here or there, but never anything strung together even on the best most-rested afternoon ever.

Additionally, I wanted to see exactly how this show, where there is a significant section of it depicted with people speed read-speaking (where they actually are giving cogent thought that is collected by not only the team they're debating against, but also the fellow debaters in the room, the judges in the room, and what I perceived were clearly onlookers watching and listening in amazement just as I did for the entire movie, were going to capture in captioning, how the people were speaking so fast. The accomplished it with the same thing interpreters us where the captioning says "[speaking indistinctly]" meaning that they are speaking but nothing in general can be gleaned from what's being said.

The captioning follows each and every team, including the showcased teams that are followed for a series of years as they complete year-round tournaments, local sectionals and everything in between. The names of the players are provided often both in graphics as titles for the participants but also inside of the captioning when they're speaking off screen to people on-screen, that really does make for an easier captioned read. I wish that other programs would take on this trait. In addition to what is the base closed captioning of the movie, they have several sections, including the speed read-speaking segments that are open captioned, which really helps you understand much of what the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities experience. A lot of people are under the impression that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people either have hearing, or don't have hearing, when in actuality, it's almost always somewhere on the spectrum of overall hearing losss. I am on the extreme able to function independently end of the Hard of Hearing spectrum and open and closed captioning is definitely gravy for me and helps me to better understand the players participating, their names, the spelling of their names, and more. Regardless of your ability to hear, I would challenge ANYONE READING THIS COLUMN to try to understand much of what is heard inside of this episode, without captioning of any kind. You simply will not be able to do it. Here's why: Over the years, competitive debate has "evolved" into a sort of shorthand speak, that is clearly discernable to those who use and participate in it's creation. To the "rest of us", it sounds just like what shorthand on paper looks like to people that just "write" - squiggles, fragments of words, sometimes-able-to-collect words but not much more. According to the show, the human brain can comprehend up to 800 words per minute being heard. Each of the presenteres in full speed read-speaking mode were pushing about 400 words per minute but it was still - AMAZINGLY DIFFICULT to make them out and I thought to myself: it's possible for some to double THIS speed and sill make things out? Amazing! The experience of listening to them is akin to watching someone speak incredibly fast, with an almost habit-formed bak occurring mid-sentence to break the cadence but also to allow breath. It's one of those things that when you see it with friends, you'll definitely look at your friends sitting in the room and say "you've gotta' be shitting me..."

It's amazing, it's otherworldly, and the best part - it's an acquired and dying skill that many people will never have the opportunity to see - save for the advent of this film that is.

The film continues following the groups as they grow older, pass through the system, and win and lose some major milestones in their scholastic debate careers. There is a point where there is a "revolutnionary team" that makes their presence known, and while I thought the initial ideas that they were providing were solid in regard to what is wrong with "the debate game" and actually attacking it by attacking the process and habitial creation traits of debate, rather than the other team- oy - that descending into what was one of the most frustrating "it's all about racism, and you can't understand because we're black" sessions that make for some very frustrating watching. Thankfully, that is a very tiny and still evocative piece of this great film that I believe everyone should be sure to watch at least once. It's a rich, supporting and educational effort that will give everyone an idea of what being able to communicate faster and more effectively than the other guy can provide to you, your family, your career, and your life - and bring you "resolve."\

Overall Caption Rating: 5

Overall Show Rating: 5

Total Rating: 5

Do You Recommend This Show to Others Who Depend on Captioning? Yes

– Mike Wilkerson
Creator/Graphic Designer/Talk Show Host

- The 2GuysTalking Podcast
2GuysTalking Original Content Podcast Network – 314-229-7683

[Mike is a professional entertainment critic and talk show host for The 2GuysTalking Podcast Network, a multi-media podcasting company specializing in the broadcast of opinion, thought and ideas. Be sure to visit 2GuysTalking.Com for more information.]


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