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Broadcast Captioning For Olympic Fans

Man watching football match on television at home.

Man watching football match on television at home.

Sports fans know the power of a good commentary, with many choosing to watch live sport from the comfort of their living room to take advantage of the expert analysis to enhance their experience.

Imagine sitting though a world class foreign film without subtitles – with the pictures, you’d get the gist, but would miss all the nuances and it’d be a frustrating experience.

TV without sound is an entirely different proposition, so The National Foundation for the Deaf has underwritten $200,000 to ensure deaf and hard of hearing New Zealander can watch their favourite events at the Rio Olympics with broadcast captioning.Live broadcast captions are similar to subtitles that you see on a foreign film but they are in the same language as the spoken audio and even include sound effects like “door slamming” or song lyrics. The captions are turned on using your TV remote or selecting an option online.

This a new venture – the Commonwealth Games, Cricket and Rugby World Cups did not have live broadcast options, which detracted from those events for anyone hard of hearing.

Able, NZ’s not-for-profit captioning provider, will be providing live captioning on Prime. “We’re delighted to be working with The National Foundation for the Deaf to make coverage of the Olympics accessible to Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers,” says Wendy Youens, Able Chief Executive. “Sports are an integral part of New Zealanders’ identity, and we’re looking forward to bringing one of our most important sporting events to communities that otherwise would not be able to fully participate.”

The Captioning Working Group, with members from Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand and The National Foundation for the Deaf, has launched a fundraising campaign to help fund the project.Captions are not a luxury, they are essential.

To get involved, text GOLD to 4847 to donate $3.00, donate online at or call for more information by free calling 0800 867 446.