For years Merv Daniels of Winter Garden, Florida had a hard time hearing the sermon at First Baptist Church in Orlando. Daniels hearing had been deteriorating for years but he still went to mass each and every week, even though he couldn’t hear anymore. For 20 years he had been an usher at the church but his hearing loss forced him to retire that position and instead he sat and read his bible faithfully during mass.
This all changed one day when he sat down next to another member of the church who just happened to be a court reporter. The idea came to them that they could use the skills of court reporters to help other congregation members like him, see the spoken word if they couldn’t hear it. Daniels went to the church and was told that if he could find a total of four court reporters to volunteer, they could use iCloud to transcribe the sermon for the hearing -impaired.
Daniel did just that. Ninette Butler is one of the volunteers who uses here live captioning skills as a court reporter to help those who are unable to hear follow the mass at firstorlando.com/caption.
The volunteers use Common Access Real Time (CART) captioning instead of closed captioning, connecting a court reporter stenotype machine directly to the Internet.
While court reporters tend to have their own way of combining legal phrases, these volunteers are now creating their own combinations for biblical phrases as well.
“Those are definitely not the words you hear in typical legal settings,” Butler said. You need to get to a point in your head where as soon as they say it, the process in your brain is so automatic.”
Thanks to the skills, dedication and selflessness of these court reporters, parishioners like Daniels can sit in church and follow along with an iPad, feeling part of the community instead of being isolated in their own, quiet world.