Bad Lipreading Video Proves Why Closed Captions Are Needed

October 12, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: June 3, 2019

“There it is! Big dinosaurs!”

“Put a scallop in my mouth.”

“That’s my shark!”

These lines from the Rugby Worldcup Lipreading video above are the ridiculous but plausible-looking lip readings of players talking on the field.

They highlight the not-so-funny reality of watching an uncaptioned sports broadcast in New Zealand if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.

The parody video was commissioned by the New Zealand Captioning Working Group (CWG), an accessibility advocacy organization including Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand, the National Foundation for the Deaf, and the Hearing Association New Zealand. It’s part of a larger effort to raise awareness for accessibility needs and pressure regulators to enact stricter closed captioning rules.

Current closed captioning regulations for New Zealand are lax compared to the laws in Australia, the United States, or the United Kingdom. Only about 31% of Free to Air New Zealand TV have closed captions.

In their press release, the Captioning Working Group explains what motivated them to make the video and advocate for more closed captioning:

Deaf & hard of hearing New Zealanders need to be able to watch what they want, when they want and how they want — just like everyone else. We want to be part of the conversation about the latest news, reality show, political announcement or Rugby result.

Captions are not a luxury, they are essential. Captions give us the full story so we can participate, too.

The video was published with the launch of a petition to Kiwi parliament advocating the passage of accessibility laws that require closed captioning on broadcast and online video.

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