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Marlee Matlin Launches Reality Show on YouTube

Oscar winner Marlee Matlin had an idea for a reality about the lives and struggles of deaf people -- but it was a little too real for TV networks. So she took her show "My Deaf Family" to Google's YouTube. "Deaf and hard of hearing people make up one of the largest minority groups," she said in an interview through her interpreter, Jack Jason, "and yet there has never been a show, a reality documentary series that features what life is like for them." Matlin financed the show, which profiles a family in Fremont, Calif. All are deaf, except for the oldest son, Jared, and the youngest, Elijah.

There is a key reason Matlin chose YouTube. The Google subsidiary has an automatic captioning system for its videos that syncs the text with the video. Right now, the experimental program can only recognize spoken English, but once transcribed, it can translate the text to 50 different languages. "Google's mission is to make all the world's information universally accessible," explained software engineer Ken Harrenstien. Viewers have to request captions.

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