Caption rate and text reduction are factors that appear to affect the comprehension of captions by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These 2 factors are confounded in everyday captioning; rate (in words per minute) is slowed by text reduction. In this study, caption rate and text reduction were manipulated independently in 2 experiments to assess any differential effects and possible benefits for comprehension by deaf and hard-of-hearing adults. Volunteers for the study included adults with a range of reading levels, self-reported hearing status, and different communication and language preferences. Results indicate that caption rate (at 130, 180, 230 words per minute) and text reduction (at 84%, 92%, and 100% original text) have different effects for different adult users, depending on hearing status, age, and reading level. In particular, reading level emerges as a dominant factor: more proficient readers show better comprehension than poor readers and are better able to benefit from caption rate and, to some extent, text reduction modifications.
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Vol. 13, Issue 3, p. 391-404