121 captions – Tina Lanin
Our captioner Michelle (AKA “Go CART”!) tells us about a day in her life ….
We all know that every day in the working life of a speech to text reporter is different, and can be a challenge, and then there are days like Tuesday 26th November!
It began like any other day, with a booking for a regular client at a conference they were holding to discuss accessible tourism in Ireland, interesting! But then I was told we wouldn’t be needed till after lunch as the morning was being spent on an ‘accessible bus tour’ to some of the accessible sights of Dublin…hold on a minute though, if I’m there for access for the deaf/hoh tourists, and I’m not needed, then how accessible is this tour going to be for them? So I asked how they’d feel if we tried to make the tour bus accessible? Without hesitation, we got a resounding yes – if you can do it, let’s go!
On the morning of the job I arrived at their office with laptops, screens, projectors, extension cables etc, I could see the perplexed expressions as they tried to work out how best to explain to me that they wouldn’t be able to plug in my extension lead on the bus, or indeed my projector! But once they were confident that that wasn’t my intention, and that I did really have some clue about what we were about to embark on, everyone relaxed
And I have to say, it was by far the most fun job I’ve done. Three double-decker Dublin buses pulled up outside the office, everyone was given a name tag and allocated a bus. The idea was that as the buses travelled between destinations the facilitator would lead the discussion and debate onboard and then in the afternoon all three busloads would feed back their information to the group at large.
As our bus was now equipped with live speech to text (CART), the occupants of the other buses could see what we were discussing, or joking about! The tour very quickly descended into a school tour mentality (we were even given some snacks) with lots of good natured joking, and one of our blind facilitators even scolded me for shielding my screen from him which meant he couldn’t copy my answers to the quiz
It soon became apparent that our driver was quite new to the concept of braking in a timely fashion and had probably never passed a pothole he didn’t enter! This being the case, I was finding it increasingly difficult to stay upright myself, and my machine, so with that in mind, the guys and gals on our bus decided to take bets on when the next bump in the road, traffic light etc would cause me and/or my machine to slip! It really lightened the mood, everyone had a laugh and it brought home to people in a very real and tangible way, that accessibility for everyone is not just a soapbox topic – but it became something that everyone on our bus played an active part in (even if some of them were “accidentally” bumping into me to get an untranslated word, and a laugh). But it showed that access matters, and that it should matter to us all!
What I didn’t know before that morning was that not only were we doing a tour on the bus, but we also had two stops; one at a brand new and very accessible hotel and one at a greyhound race track. Initially it was suggested that I would stay on the bus and not transcribe the tours, but where’s the fun in that? So, once we got off the bus, the bets turned to how many different positions they could get me to write in; standing; sitting; balancing on a bed; squatting; machine on a table, machine held by another tour member in the lift! – it was a truly interactive tour
And to finish the day off we went back to Guinness Storehouse for our panel discussion and debate about accessible tourism in Ireland (and free pints of Guinness of course).
All in all a brilliant day. An important topic discussed, debated, delivered and demonstrated in our different locations – the best job ever
Written by Michelle, Provided by Tina Lannin (121 Captions)
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