Hello BBC (and other broadcasters) – from Pardon!

We are deaf, and we need access for all. That’s our strapline and our vision.

We pay a licence fee, full licence fee, just like everyone else. We are learning about politics, for the first time we have been able to understand what it’s really all about because we’re deaf and can’t hear things, but we have been following the General election – finally – thanks to social media and your hard work. We have to say your subtitles for the election were amazing, the best we’ve ever seen, then this…

From Question Time, last night. We do know your captioners work very hard, and we can’t do without them. But surely, you have to agree, this is not good enough?

We have recorded it without sound, so you can see and hear what we see … does anyone know what they’re talking about? We certainly don’t.

We would appreciate a response from you as to what went wrong. In the meantime, here are some quotes that have appeared on Pardon in the last 18 hours or so since your broadcast.

I like watching Question Time but last night was awful. We’re complaining to BBC today. Channel 4 News yesterday at 7pm was bad too – unusual for them.

Question Time is recorded a couple of hours before – no excuse for the rubbish subtitles at all!

Looks like a game show.. You fill in the missing important stuff lol

Trainee subtitlers perhaps?… Re speakers… bad subtitle. ?

Even worse if pre recorded! That was atrocious broadcasting…

STTRs are not more expensive. Redbee/Ericsson made a strategic decision to use respeaking over stenographers. They still have some working there but use them for sport not high profile programmes like this. Stenographers will get 99% of what is said down at 98-99% accuracy. Respeaking is not required to get that level of accuracy and would only get 80% on what is said down.

Am well aware of the technicalities of subtitling and appreciate what goes into getting them on screen…but there is no excuse for the appalling airing last night on Question Time. When the BBC used stenographers the accuracy was great. Last night it was jamming then suddenly flashing far too fast to read. Far better to put up an apology statement, sort it out, then resume than have us sit like mugs wondering what was being discussed and getting frustrated.

It was unbelievably frustrating. I must admit it was so awful I thought there was a problem with my reception. Like XXX, I am aware of how difficult live subtitling is (I worked as a subtitler for many years and actually did the very first live subtitling – which was awful!) but this was beyond the pale and we should complain.

… I am aware how hard people work, and how they do it, but this was *bad* by everyone’s standards. I agree with xxx … They should have stopped it, put up an apology and tried to sort.

This is ridiculous! What are we paying for?!

It’s all very well seeing what they do and appreciating how difficult it is etc. etc. but at the end of the day, if the subtitles are poor it’s pointless. I’ve seen live subtitles many times and mostly they have been decent enough to follow, so they’ve almost nailed it. So when you turn on QT and get the rubbish we saw yesterday there’s no excuse at all.

It’s all well and good listening to the reasons why they cannot provide adequate access to us deaf viewers. Should this not be the reason why our licences SHOULD be reduced until they can in fact offer the access we ought to have whilst paying full whack?

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