and harmonisation of subtitling in European television broadcasting
"Language is a concern of the greatest importance to the people
of Europe. It is integral to all our dealings, key to effective communication.
Currently, diversity of language is one of the main barriers to international
trade and a cause of relative isolation for parts of the population.
At the same time, retaining and supporting this diversity is a determining
factor for social and political cohesion within the EU."
(from Telematics Applications Programme: Language
Engineering progress and prospects '98).
CEN/CENELEC meeting in Brussels on standardisation
of television subtitling and organisation of a European conference of
the television broadcasters to be held in June in Spain.
ISGD meeting (presentation of first results).
Meeting with the European Broadcasting Union in
Workshop in Spain under the Spain Presidency with
participation of the European broadcasters and high level representatives
of EC and EP.
Workshop RAI Bologna;
ISGD meeting (presentation of results and plans for Year 2003 activities.
- reinforce collaboration with TV broadcasters,
subtitling firms, user groups;
- prepare videotapes or CDROM with extracts from
- comparing approaches: common points and main
differences, best practice.
- define user needs, through contacts with user
groups and field tests;
- translate users needs into technical specifications;
prepare summary report;
- establish contacts with producers of CD-ROM and
- disseminate intermediate results by meetings
and via the VOICE Project's Web Site and Discussion Forum;
- organise Year 2003 activities.
Activities of Year 2003
- Subtitling official Year's opening/closing speeches
+ Special Olympics Ireland;
- results' dissemination to EC Services, broadcasters,
producers and public, by Web Forum and television broadcasts;
- spreading information on JRC's activities in
this and other fields.
Technical aspects to harmonise
- normally hearing users (subtitles only of voice,
in only one colour on one background):
mother tongue users (new specific terminology in self training);
non mother tongue users: foreigners and immigrated;
- users with hearing impairment (subtitles of voice
and of sounds; one colour for each main speaker; different background
for speakers out of the image and for significant sounds, as knocking
at the door or telephone ringing);
- users with visual impairment (voice description
of images) by text-to-voice synthesis or by Braille-line.
- statistics available on the number of users watching
the different channels, by age, sex, revenues, education; no indicators
available on users with disability, nor on immigrated;
- no data on the number of users opening the corresponding
teletext pages; their satisfaction is sometimes measured by specific
- advertising may pay back the extra costs, as
for instance in Canada.
- television; digital television (large availability
- digital radio (bandwidth allowing traffic or
emergency messages on the radio's display);
- film/cinema; video-cassettes; CD-ROM;
- DVD (several channels available for subtitling
for different users and languages).
- on line (news, live broadcasts, sport): the subtitles
are presented a few seconds after the spoken words;
- off line (films, documentaries, games): more
time for preparing the subtitles, presented at the same time of the
- time-code and rules on time-in and time-out for
- open caption (visible for all users);
- closed caption (users may select teletext pages
with the subtitles);
- full text (preferred by users with good language
- resumed and/or simplified text (preferred by
users with limited language knowledge);
- number of lines: fixed or variable; position:
fixed or scrolling;
- colours' schemas and characters' font and size.
- voice recognition;
- manual keyboard.