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Helping the Deaf with Subtitling

by Amelia Sevilla Martin, Spanish Teacher and Joo San Chong, Chinese Teacher –

Hello! 你好 !

This year during SMART period, we set up a Subtitling studio for Accessibility and English language learners. Subtitling, transposing the dialogue of videos into on-screen text, is a fun and interactive activity for students to practise their language skills using multimedia resources. It also promotes peer-learning and activates students’ multiple intelligences, as the process of subtitling involves audio, visual and textual information.

As language teachers, it is essential for us to find meaningful and practical ways for our students to practise language knowledge in a variety of contexts. Initially, we considered that students could subtitle videos that are used in class by their subject teachers, CIS videos used for Communication purposes, or even their own favourite Youtube clips. ELL Students could attend and have fun, while enhancing their language skills. To read further on subtitling as a pedagogical tool, you may refer to the following articles:

In order to integrate a service component, we contacted The Singapore Association for the Deaf and developed a collaborative project with them, leading  students to produce bilingual captions in English and Chinese for hearing impaired members of our local community! Students worked in bilingual groups to ensure both languages were represented. It was a rewarding experience for both mother tongue and second language learners of English and Chinese respectively, as both learner profiles worked and learnt cooperatively and from each other.

Even if the topic of some of the videos was challenging, students overcame lexical and conceptual difficulties and enjoyed the process overall.  An example of a subtitled video can be viewed here.

Mr. Hock Sik, Senior Manager of The Singapore Association for the Deaf, expressed his gratitude towards CIS students’ dedication. His department focuses on outreach events and activities, and organises regular workshops for the deaf community on how to broaden their knowledge and access training. He expressed his interest into our proposal of captioning his recorded videos as 2.5% to 4% of Singaporeans have a hearing impairment and not all of them know sign language. The Singaporean government wants to make the deaf society inclusive by introducing certain initiatives such as live streaming the budget speech and national events with English subtitles on Toggle and introducing digital TV programmes. Thanks to these initiatives, subtitles are now available in many programmes. CIS students project to subtitle video clips is an wonderful community service for the deaf.

Kudos to our CIS students for putting their language proficiency to a good use and helping others in the society we live in!

1 Comment on Helping the Deaf with Subtitling

  1. The answer of an expter. Good to hear from you.

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