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Able’s captioning will bring all Kiwis to the finish line

Media Release
July 2016

Able’s captioning service will bring all Kiwis to the finish line

For the first time ever, Able are offering captioning services for free-to-air coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Prime, making the games accessible for Kiwis who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Partnering with The National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD), who have provided funding for the project, Able will provide captioning of Prime’s coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympics, from August 6th – 22nd.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the NFD have provided us with the funding to establish live captioning for the Olympics,” says Wendy Youens, Chief Executive of Able. “The Olympic Games are the world’s biggest sporting event and are ingrained in our national identity, so we’re thrilled to be able to make them accessible to Deaf and hard-of-hearing New Zealanders.

New Zealand’s only captioning and audio description service, Able make TV content accessible for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind and vision impaired New Zealanders. Their services are available on content across TVNZ, MediaWorks and Prime, assisted by funding from NZ On Air.

In 2015, Able’s funding increased, making it possible for them to work with Prime to launch captioning for some programming, paving the way for captioning services for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games coverage. Their team of captioners will be working hard over the next month to learn athlete names and sporting jargon that are likely to emerge in the commentary, as well as liaising closely with SKY’s broadcast technical team to ensure smooth coverage.

Captions are written transcriptions of a programme, and will convey both the commentary and the sound effects of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Throughout the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Prime viewers will enjoy a mix of the best Olympic action, from 11pm each evening through to 3pm the following day. Closed captions will be available for the opening and closing ceremonies, for daily coverage between 6am – 3pm, and for the 6pm highlights, all clearly identified by the CC logo on screen.

Through Able’s services, when Kiwis compete and win, Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers will be able to become part of the excitement and achievement, along with the stadium of cheering fans.

“Being able to follow what’s happening at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will give me a sense of belonging, as I’ll be able to fully understand and follow the events,” says Joyce Torres, who uses Able’s captioning service. Originally from the Philippines, Joyce says the Kiwi accent can make TV difficult to follow, but captioning allows her to understand much more.

“Having hearing loss, I hear the words on TV, but often don’t totally understand what is being said. Captions help me follow the program, and I don’t get left out,” she says. “Captions will give New Zealand’s hard-of-hearing community a chance to be part of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and I’m looking forward to watching.”

All Able’s services are free and available for anyone in New Zealand. To find out more, visit

- Ends -

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