I’m Tina Lannin from 121 Captions, a social enterprise helping deaf people into education and work through high quality communication support, training and consultancy.
How did 121 Captions start?
I was born deaf and I’m a lip reader with two cochlear implants. I believe a good education is the key to being successful in business. I attended four universities to read business, Japanese, law, and careers consultancy – I only had communication support with my last degree so I understand the huge benefits of appropriate support.
I worked as an accountant for ten years and recently was the finance manager for Hearing Concern. I trained as a mentor to help deaf people into work, a lipreading teacher, a deaf awareness trainer, and a psychometric examiner. I was helping deaf people around me to access education and work, and was often frustrated at the quality and limited range of communication support available to deaf people requiring captions, and so 121 Captions was born.
What excites you about what 121 Captions has achieved?
I am passionate about helping other deaf people to have equal access to work, education, and events through a high quality communication support with an expert one-to-one service led by deaf people.
My agency was the first to bring remote speech-to-text and remote captions to deaf people in the UK, four years ago. When speech-to-text is streamed over the internet to your laptop or iPhone, this is known as remote speech-to-text. Remote captions are subtitles, streamed over the internet to sit on top of an image or video. Remote services are more economical as the minimum booking is only one hour. More people can have more access, as all you need is internet access and sound. I have personally used remote text services every day for 4 years, and I understand the pros and cons very well.
What do you find is the biggest challenge with providing the service?
Encountering employers who are not deaf aware is a common complaint in the deaf community. 121 Captions has developed a range of services to address three areas; discovering your career, getting into work, and staying in work. Careers guidance is provided by qualified deaf professionals, with confidence-building workshops, coaching, and personal mentoring. We advise you on getting your dream job or building your own business. We can then come into your workplace and train your colleagues to be deaf aware – and we deliver hearing awareness courses too!
How do you intend to develop the service?
With increasing use of the internet, we see so many videos without captions. Our new video caption service allows you to caption your own video easily. Crucially, we are keen to uphold a much-needed high quality service in the face of lower quality services such as respeaking, and budget cuts.
121 Captions is promoting forensic lipreading and deaf awareness training as commercial roles for deaf people, helping them to profit from skills they already have. We can help to increase your employability or coach those who are entrepreneurs. Let us show you the way.
Tina Lannin is the founder of 121 Captions, a Deaf Unity sponsor. 121 Captions was the first agency to pioneer remote speech to text reporting in the UK. 121 Captions is deaf-owned, deaf-led and provides high quality captioning, lipreaders, lipspeakers and consultancy services. For a longer interview focusing on Tina, go here. To find out more, please visit the 121 Captions website.