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"Don't leave deaf people lost in translation", Signature tells Ofcom

Added 26 Jul 2013

Signature

Signature is asking Ofcom to step up the quality and quantity of live TV subtitles to improve the viewing experience of deaf and hard of hearing people.

We have responded to Ofcom's consultation on live TV subtitles to make the case for improvement.

Existing problems with the service include issues with delays, speed and accuracy. Bizarrely, pre-recorded programmes are often broadcast with live subtitles. This results in deaf peoples' viewing experiences being regularly out of sync and they are unable to enjoy programmes in the same way as hearing viewers.

Our response to the consultation makes a number of recommendations, which aim to transform the TV viewing experience of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Our key recommendations are:

  • Ofcom should measure the quality of live TV subtitles, focusing on speed, delays, accuracy and presentation. This will ensure a full and accurate picture of subtitles quality is established.

  • Ofcom should require broadcasters to report the number of live subtitles that have a speed of over 180wpm. Speeds over this level reduce the viewer's enjoyment and understanding.

  • Ofcom should require broadcasters to report the number of subtitles that have delays of more than 5 seconds. Delays of over 5 seconds have a negative impact on people's viewing experience.

  • Ofcom's requirement for broadcasters to report subtitle errors should prioritise serious and standard errors. These errors have the greatest impact on subtitles' meaning.

  • Prepared subtitles should become standard practice for pre-recorded programmes.

Signature is involved in ongoing lobbying and campaigning on this issue, so stay tuned for further updates.