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

    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 8:37 pm on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Smart Phone,   

    Cinema, smart phones and subtitles/closed captions 

    As lucky as I am to be living in an area where subtitled cinema screenings are available sometimes I struggle to make them because the times available don’t match my lifestyle (I can’t go to the cinema at 2pm on a weekday as much as I’d like to, I have to work during those hours for example).  The obvious answer is to wait until the movie comes out on DVD and unless your really unlucky, thankfully most DVDs will provided closed captioning or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. But some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen right? And what if you have a DVD that does not have closed captions or subtitles available? If you have a smart phone there is an option that whilst I don’t think is anywhere near as good as going to a subtitled screening or watching a subtitled DVD, it does at least offer an alternative that is better than struggling with no help at all.

    For the iPhone there is an app available simply called subtitles. Once you’ve downloaded the app you can search for the film you want subtitles for. The app then searches the database from opensubtitles.org to see if they are available. Here is its first limitation, the film you want might not be available (just today I searched for The Kings Speech – none available). However there is a large database, and I was able to find subtitles for two movies – The Other Guys, and The American which I downloaded and used to go to a non-subtitled screenings at my local cinema last year. Once you have downloaded the subtitles you can then view them on your iPhone screen. The app gives you control and it is up to you to sync the subtitles with film audio and press play as soon as the movie starts. Here in is another limitation as it can be tricky to get it right but to be fair it took me less than a minute to get the timing right at the beginning of the film (for someone with a more severe hearing loss I wonder how easy that might be?) I did have to keep redoing this when the subtitles occasionally would lose sync again. Whether this is a technical limitation of the app or an error in the subtitling file itself I don’t know. I suspect the latter. The most impressive thing about the app for me is the text itself is easy to read and you can also control how bright or dim the text appears for the comfort of your own reading and the lighting within the cinema itself. You can make your screen very dim so not to annoy other people watching the movie with bright light glaring from your phone and the text still remains easy to read and follow. This is well thought out and considered. For another detailed user review of this app complete with screen grabs etc visit Able Bodied.

    The subtitles app is free to download and despite some of the limitations that I’ve mentioned, ultimately I think its fantastic that it has been developed and created and I know now that I can always try it and search for subtitles to use at no extra cost to me. This is a great example of new technology providing greater access with little cost.

    Sticking with the iPhone for a moment, even at the cinema and on your DVD, any trailers for upcoming releases are not subtitled or captioned.  Make sure you download the CaptionFish Trailers app which allows you to watch movie trailers complete with the subtitles/captions.  This too is free to download. Brilliant 🙂 Note: Since the company is US based, the trailers provided will predominantly be the US trailers and not the international versions which are sometimes different.

    For those without an iPhone, an alternative to the iPhone subtitles app reviewed above comes from David King (@oodavid on twitter) who voluntary developed a free application that should work on most modern phones and allow it to display subtitles – check out oosubtitles! That’s clever right? And if anyone else knows of any more alternatives please comment and let me know.

    • amy 6:38 pm on January 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      seriously cool. thanks for sharing. we don’t have cc for movies in our area at all. my son is an implant user but really needs captions at the movies. I am not sure he’d really be able to follow the captions on the phone and the movie as well- and there is the detail that i don’t have an iphone LOL. but this is pretty NEATO!


    • jane 12:46 am on January 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for this info. My mother who is deaf is thrilled to know about this. She recently purchased an iphone to be able to communicate through text and facetime (she is an amazing lip reader). To be able to visit a new release movie is an exciting prospect.


    • Bill 3:50 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      There is an app for Droid called “SubtitlePlayer” that sounds the same


    • Bill 4:00 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

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