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Show Translations has launched Airscript, a closed-caption system for theatre productions that has been designed and developed by Cambridge Consultants

A full-colour, high-resolution widescreen display and a high-reliability wireless link delivers subtitles from the performance to personal handsets in real time, supporting both non-native speaking audience members and those who are deaf or have hearing impairments.

Cambridge Consultants has designed the handset to be easy to use and comfortable for all ages and abilities, with an ergonomic shape and no complex menus or controls.

The speed of the subtitles is controlled by the stage prompt, ensuring the captions that appear on the Airscript handsets will always remain synchronised with the action on stage.

The handsets also incorporate an internal battery that can be recharged by stowing them into a supplied charging rack, giving theatres a convenient place to store the handsets while not in use.

The batteries last the life of the handset, meaning that they do not need to be replaced.

The Airscript handsets also had to take into account audience members not using the system and have therefore been designed to avoid the light spillage often associated with mobile phone screens.

The screen background is black rather than white and the brightness of the subtitles can be centrally controlled.

This means, for example, that the screens can be synchronised with the house lights going up and down.

The handset is also completely silent during operation.

Full-colour, high-resolution advertising space may be provided on screen, available before and after the performance and during the interval.

Airscript is being launched by Show Translations in conjunction with the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, for performances of ‘Hairspray’.

Airscript handsets – initially supporting eight languages, including French, German, Spanish, Japanese and English – will be available for audience members to use from November 2009.

Cambridge Consultants

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