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  • iheartsubtitles 2:11 pm on December 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Australia, , , ,   

    CSI User Experience Conference 2012 Part 2 – Live subtitles & measuring quality 

    CSI User Experience Conference 2012: TV Accessibility

    CSI User Experience Conference 2012: TV Accessibility

    For background info on this conference read Part 1.

    Ofcom gave a presentation highlighting their access priorities for the next year which are:

    1) To improve the quality of subtitling. This is particularly of interest for live TV subtitling (usually done via respeaking) and the subtitling of TV programmes completed very close to its transmission date thereby not allowing time for prepared subtitles to be created for the viewer to watch and so the subtitles are created by the same process as live TV.

    2) Improve accessibility to EPG’s (Electronic Programme Guide) and functionality for the visually impaired.

    For the purpose of this blog I will be focusing on points made about subtitling. During a roundtable discussion last month hearing impaired viewers gave the following feedback on live subtitles:

    Watching TV with subtitles is much less relaxing than those of us who don’t need to use subtitles. You need to concentrate while reading subtitles, that means less time to look at the picture itself. It’s particularly tough if you’re watching with live subtitling you are having to relate the dialogue you are seeing against the picture that no longer relates to that subtitling. It means that it can be really quite disjointed as a viewing experience. And of course inevitably there are errors and editing which can make story lines difficult to follow. And from time to time, there are more substantial failures of subtitling. Very occasionally, you get misleading information which viewers are not made aware of if they are using subtitles. They maybe be told the statistic is 15% when its actually 50%. Easy enough to happen but it means that part of the viewing population is being misled.

    As a result of such feedback Ofcom set the following objectives:

      Ensure they have an up to date understanding on how live subtitling is produced via respeaking and voice recognition software. (You can read some information about this on my #subtitlefail! page. And if there is more up to date info needed please let me know.)
      To understand how broadcasters manage the production of the programmes that are pre-recorded but delivered close to the transmission date to see what they are doing to ensure that they can provide the best quality subtitles for these programmes, not just for first transmission but also for repeats on linear TV within the first 7 days of first transmissions.
      To understand the technical problems that can sometimes occur throughout the transmission chain and not just at the end of the chain on a viewers TV that cause subtitling errors.
      To look a what measures of subtitling quality there are and if this can be broadened:

      We decided that we wanted to have a look at what measures of subtitling quality there were at present, whether there was cope to broaden and develop these, and whether there might be merit in asking broadcasters to report against a broadened measure in order to provide transparency about the quality of the subtitling they were producing. One of the reasons we thought this might be helpful, is that we have got a long experience of publishing statistics on the quantity of subtitling, that mean that you can go on to a website and see what a channel has been doing against this target over the last year or 6 months. That’s helped to drive quite substantial amount of over compliance. If you do visit our website you will find that most broadcasters are doing rather more tan they have to it may be that transparency and fresh air could also be employed to help broadcasters focus on how to improve the quality of subtitling.

      On this note I’d point you to an interview with Alex Varley CEO of Media Access Australia who I think has done some excellent work in this area. Also worth a watch is his presentation titled: Does measuring subtitle quality really make a difference? I find it interesting that tveeder was set up to allow Australian viewers to provide feedback on the quality of live subtitling of the news. By streaming the captions online anyone can review the subtitles verbatim and assess the error rate. Can something similar be done for other channels? However I am not sure how feedback on quality is gathered and collected using this tool.

    Other feedback that Ofcom received on subtitling:

      Delays are really irksome to viewers because of that difficulty of marrying up the dialogue and picture. It’s even more irksome to them, than errors.
      Scrolling subtitling are much more difficult to read and comprehend quickly as it requires you to spend a lot more time reading and see much less of the picture.
      A loss of subtitling part way through a programme that a viewer is watching that with family results in said viewer suddenly being out of the picture is really frustrating. (This is a classic example of isolation and reminds me of the CCAC’s campaign video Don’t Leave Me Out)
      When a viewer knows that a programme has been pre- recorded but they have have not made it available for broadcast in time for that to be delivered with pre-recorded subtitles. When popular programming comes to broadcaster so late that they have to be subtitled live it often leads to a consequential degradation of the viewing experience for the hearing impaired person.

    In Part 3 I will discuss the technology surrounding live subtitling and include comments made in a panel discussion around this subject.

  • iheartsubtitles 4:11 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Australia, , , ,   

    Captioning, subtitling and SEO and the second screen 

    If you’ve read the about page you’ll know that one of the aims of this blog is to highlight how subtitles and captioning are not just an accessibility aid. One context that it keeps coming up in is in the discussion of online content and search engine optimisation (SEO).

    This is important to internet marketing because getting your website high up the search engine results list means more prospective customers and web hits. According to Wikipedia:

    As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

    SOURCE: Search Engine Optimization

    More and more website content is video. The problem is unlike text,a search engine cannot automatically read online video content to determine if the video content is relevant to a search term someone carries out. The solution? Yes you guessed it – adding closed captions or subtitles. This text can be read by a search engine and ensures that the video content is not missed out or lost during a web search. There have been numerous articles explaining this benefit (here’s one, and here’s another) so this makes me wonder why the heck don’t we see more content online with captions or subtitles available? There are premium services offering captioning within this context such as Speaker Text’s Caption Box* They point out that using their service of adding captions allows a viewer to point to a particular area of the video and share easily on social network sites.

    Recently I came across some interesting services that are taking this concept a step further. The Internet Archive website has launched a service TV News – Search Borrow. It’s a search engine that trawls the closed captions of online news videos (currently predominantly US channels) and displays the results. Here’s what I searched:

    TV News - Search Borrow

    Search results using closed captioning from the query ‘binders full of women’ from a recent US Presidential debate.

    I like this is a lot, and it seems others are wondering if this is “The Newest Technology That Could Transform Internet Media” There is also tveeder live stream which highlights closed captioning taken from Australia’s ABC News 24 . What I like about this feed is that it displays different speakers in different coloured text. Another live stream of captioning online is Opened Captions which streams the live captioning coming from TV channel C-SPAN. I encourage you to read this blog entry from its creator for his suggestions on some creative and clever things it could be used for. It is interesting also to discover that researchers working on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show are using a software application that searches the text from closed captioning of C-SPAN and news programs to find keywords and phrases that politicians probably want to forget.

    It’s not just TV programme researchers using it, TV broadcasters are constantly trying to come up with new ways to embrace the relatively new trend of the second screen. Research shows more and more television viewers are using a second screen (such as a computer or a smart phone) to compliment their TV viewing. Boxfish is an iOS app that searches the the closed captions from US cable and local broadcast stations and indexes and analyses all this data in real time. The result is presented as a constantly updating stream of trends and topics. I haven’t used this myself yet but you can read a review and see screen shots in this article.

    *This is not an endorsement, and there are others out there. Go research! And of course, there are numerous free resources that allow anyone to add captioning or subtitles to online content.

  • iheartsubtitles 10:19 pm on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Australia,   

    Cinema Captioning in Australia – CaptiView 

    Currently captioned (or subtitled as it is refered to in the UK) cinema screenings of same language films as opposed to foreign language are available in the UK, USA, and Australia – see Cinema links on this blog. Currently Australian deaf and hard of hearing cinema goers have been able to trial a new captioning service called CaptiView. According to the fact sheet:

    The CaptiView system consists of a small, OLED display on a bendable support arm that fits
    into the theater seat cup holder. The easy-to-read screen is equipped with a rechargable Lithium
    Ion battery that lasts over 24 hours of continuous use per charge. The high contrast display
    comes with a privacy visor so it can be positioned directly in front the movie patron with minimal
    impact or distraction to neighboring patrons.

    SOURCE: doremi cinema

    You can see a bit of it in action in this video which ironically is not captioned, unless you want to turn on You Tube’s not completely accurate automated captioning:

    But better than the above, be sure to check out this review from a users perspective from Michael Lockrey. The comments are mostly positive and there are some great screen grabs of the unit in action with a movie screening.

    If you are a movie goer in Australia the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG) is urging you to provide feedback and share your experiences of attending captioned cinema showings. You can email them at accessible.cinema@fahcsia.gov.au Be sure also to check out Media Access Australia’s review of a captioned screening in Hoyts cinema in Sydney here.

    I have never tried such a device. The one thing puts me off is the fact that such devices require your eyes to look at two screens – one for the movie and one for the captions. For this reason I think open captions/subtitles displayed on the same screen as the movie itself will always be my preference. I will end this post here, as this point brings me nicely to my next post  in which I review the option of using a smart phone if no captioned shows are available at your cinema.

    • Captioning Company Australia 6:11 am on March 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      This blog will give us the information regarding Cinema Captioning in Australia!!!!!


    • kenneth 8:06 pm on January 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      went to see the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night at a Marcus Theatre in Madison, WI. They use the new Captiview [CV] closed captioning technology, and it was a much better experience, in our opinion, than the other options currently available to deaf patrons. Here’s a press release from Marcus from October announcing the installation of Captiview in all their locations. The major benefit over open captions is that instead of running a very limited number of open caption films made available by the production studios at very limited times on a weekly basis, one can go into any marcus theatre for a captioned showing at any time of day, any day of the week. Unfortunately, this technology is not yet widespread. We need to promote [and insist] that all the major and minor movie chains install this technology system-wide. It is as close as we can get to the functional equivalence of anytime, anywhere access to first-run movies int he theatres.


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