To help make queer community events more accessible – including our own events – BCRAD has begun an initiative to train and recruit volunteer captionists. Traditionally, professional Real Time Captioning Services are extremely costly, and out of the financial means of most community organizations. Unfortunately, this financial barrier can render many events inaccessible to hard-of-hearing and deafened people, especially since not everyone has the fluency or knowledge of ASL to rely upon ASL interpretation. Thus, we established this service in lines with our mission of supporting everyone on the Deaf spectrum.
BCRAD currently runs two databases of volunteer captionists, one for events in spoken English, and one for events in American Sign Language. For events requiring captioning in spoken English, please be aware that volunteer captioning is not intended to be a replacement to ASL interpretation services, but rather a supplement.
Volunteer Captioning depends upon a strong network of captionists to be successful, so we highly encourage anyone interested to apply!
Interested in Getting Involved?
If you’re passionate about accessibility as a community initiative, Volunteer Captioning gives you an opportunity to give back to your community. Please send us an email at email@example.com with your basic information and with which languages you are fluent in (Spoken English/ASL) and we will get back to you with more information!
For events, captionists generally work in teams with each doing rotations of ten minutes each. We strive to get at least four to five captionists per event, allowing for ample time for breaks.
Strong listening and typing skills are recommended. We are working to provide regular training workshops with professional captionists to help volunteer captionists get up to pace.
Interested in Captioning Your Event?
If you’re interested in making your event more accessible, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with information about your organization and event. We generally recommend that events have both interpreters and captionists for maximal accessibility. Please be aware that as captioning is an extremely difficult job, it may not be possible to fully transcribe everything that occurs.
Some events may not be appropriate for captioning – for instance, events that take place outdoors, or unfacilitated discussions. Events that are appropriate for captioning might include workshops or panel discussions. If you have any questions about whether your event can be captioned, please don’t hesitate to send us an email!
As BCRAD is a queer organization, we generally only provide captioning for events and organizations that align with our anti-oppressive vision. In addition, please note that due to the volunteer hours required to caption an event, it may not be possible to have captioning occur for every event requested. We recommend that events have back-up plans should captioning fall through, and that organizers be cautious about confirming captioning prematurely. Submitting a request well in advance (two months or more) raises the chance we’ll be able to organize this service for you successfully.
Our service is free, but donations are highly appreciated – any donations will be recycled back into improving accessibility at queer events in the lower mainland, including training for our captionists.