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Levente Janosi is the President of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association chapter in Hamilton. Last year in November we sat down and discussed how important closed captioning is for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and how it has evolved in the past few years. A transcript of my conversation with him follows.

[Background noise, music throughout]

[Reporter] So, Mr. Janosi, thank you so much for granting me this interview. I was wondering, you as an end-user of closed captioning, what’s your experience with closed captioning in Canada?

[Janosi] So first of, probably the best thing I would like to say about closed captioning is… the technology came a long way in the last few years, and it became a lot better. Probably the only thing, when it’s properly turned on, once it’s set up and you’ve ironed out the kinks and stuff like that, and you set it up, closed captioning on television works like a charm. Obviously, if it’s not live, it’s good. Live closed captioning, obviously, it’s got a way to go, obviously. Because what happens is, many times, specially myself, who’s hard of hearing, but I can also hear and I read lips, and with the hard of hearing, the visual aspect is very important. So when you’re reading lips and you are also looking at the closed captioning, it’s fairly important to be in sync, without a delay. Probably the delay is the biggest focus that needs to be taken into consideration, to become a little bit better.

[Reporter] The industry aims for a 3 seconds delay at the most, but often they cannot reach that. How does that affect you?

[Janosi] Sometimes what happens is… because of the reading of the lips in real time and then hearing, and also having hearing, like I am not totally, profound deaf, I am just hard of hearing, so with the delay that I hear, if there’s a 3 seconds delay, that’s quite a lot of delay. And then, it becomes a little bit confusing, because what I read on the lips is totally different from what I actually hear or read.

[Reporter] If you would have the chance to speak to somebody in the industry who deals with ruling closed captioning, what would you tell them?

[Janosi] Probably the best advice that I could give them is to have actually hard of hearing people present when they are actually doing it. I… Through my life I was in research and I know the best research is actually having people who are affected the most involved in the research. So if you’re making captioning and putting something together, and you’re putting the captioning down, have somebody else, not just a technical person, but somebody else actually be present, somebody who is hard of hearing, that can give you real-time feedback as well.

[Reporter] Right now, every broadcaster has its own set of rules when it comes to closed captioning. How does that make you feel, when closed captioning differ from one provider to another?

[Janosi] So, I don’t want to be negative about it, because obviously we came a long way and the industry… obviously, anything that’s not live is pretty much closed captioned, you can create it. But there’s a lot of websites right now, that you go to and you actually don’t have closed captioning underneath it. So as long as they could put processes in place to make it better and also to provide feedback… because if you have a favorite website… I watch many times and in the past few years… I remember I stopped looking at it. But in the past few years, now they actually have everything closed captioned and most of their presentations are closed captioned, so that’s really, really helpful.

[Reporter] So how optimistic are you for the future with this technology, just coming out everyday?

[Janosi] I am optimistic, from a sense that… there is gonna be technology out there to solve the issues. How the technologies are gonna work together and play well in the same sandbox? That’s a question. That’s a bigger question. I come from the IT industry in my professional life, so I do know that Microsoft and Google, and Twitter, social media, Facebook, even though each of them do the right things, they’re still competing against each other, so, everybody is gonna push their own technology. And, hopefully, there’s gonna be somebody who advances the solutions that much more. And it’s actually… I’m not saying competition is all bad. Competition could be good and bad. It is bad when people are not standardizing on a solution. But on the flip side of it, it’s also good, because one raises the bar for the other one.

[Reporter] Thank you very much for your time.