Subtitling recognised as essential to Broadcasters to meet Accessibility Goals

New regulations have come into force that require audio-visual content to be made accessible to everyone, includinghearing-impaired people. As a consequence, this has generated a seismic shift in the broadcast industry’s attitude towards subtitles, resulting in increased demand for subtitling and captioning solutions. Broadcasters all around the worldnow have to ensure that their scheduled programmes have sufficient subtitling to meet these new guidelines.

Optimistically, subtitling is finally being recognised as essential, and no longer merely an optional add-on, as previously perceived. This positive move has revealed how valuable subtitles are to programme makers and filmmakers, as they not only promote growth, but they also dramatically increase profits by reaching out to vast global audiences in different languages.

Until recently, regulators only specified legal targets for linear channels. With OTT platforms dominating the market, the focus on regulating access services is switching to this area of content delivery.  Targets for accessibility are set by regulatory bodies in each country. For example, in the UK the targets are set by Ofcom, and other regulators include ACMA in Australia, FCC in North America, CRTC in Canada, CSA in France and CNMC in Spain.

However, meeting these guidelines can seem like a daunting challenge for broadcasters that have to work in fast-paced environments that demand constant live content and consistently updated news. This is where companies such as PBT EU come in and can confidently ensure that their broadcast customers are well-prepared ahead of time, to meet these obligations.

CEO of PBT EU Ivanka Vassileva notes, “There is a growing understanding of accessibility, and the definition is broad – from motor disabilities, sensory, to cognitive, the key element is to ensure that content is made accessible to everybody and that no one is excluded. Broadcasters need software that provides them with flexibility so they can enjoy a seamless in-house network to share live output across multiple different production teams on a global scale. With reliable and affordable software systems on the market like SubtitleNEXT, subtitling should no longer be a regulatory burden for broadcasters. SubtitleNEXT is a convenient all-in-one solution that can be used for captioning live events and offline content in real time. It can stream content in multiple formats that are suitable for linear broadcasting, including VOD platforms and social media platforms.”

SubtitleNEXT can also be set up to be based around remote working. Working in live news environments, a system enabling subtitlers to have access to newsrooms running orders is vital, as is the ability to deal with late schedule changes and breaking news.

In addition, it is crucial that skilled professionals working in subtitling have a good command of the language they are working in with regards to spelling and grammar.  Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is becoming more prominent and used by many of PBT EU’s partners and customers such as Linxstream in Dubai and AppTek in the States. AppTek hasintegrated its award-winning NMT, ASR and Intelligent Line Segmentation (ILS) technologies directly into SubtitleNEXT captioning, subtitling and localization platform, further enhancing SubtitleNEXT’s subtitling and captioning workflows.

Veronique Denis is a well-respected accessibility professional and specialist in real-time subtitling with speech recognition and also Co-founder of Max Live Media Access Services in Belgium. She has already been creating accessible audiovisual content for the hearing and visually impaired since 2015. She shares her thoughts on the topic of media accessibility, “Over the last few years, people have started consuming media in a different way: they consume audiovisual content anywhere and anytime. This is challenging for broadcasters wanting to meet accessibility standards and want their content subtitled on different platforms. SubtitleNEXT enables us to meet broadcasters’ demands and high standards by being our one stop shop for all of our subtitling needs: live, semilive or prerecorded, the result is always of high quality.”

Sonya Chakarova who is the Sales and Marketing Director at Pro Systems adds, “We are impressed with PBT EU’s refreshing approach and their impact in the broadcast sector with SubtitleNEXT. This remarkable software platform is playing a relevant role, not only in exceptionally constructive and helpful areas such as advancing accessibility for the hearing-impaired, but also in helping to improve communication and boost subtitling creativity in the broadcasting, media, and creative industries with a viable and affordable solution.”

When it comes to film and television production, Professor Agnieszka Szarkowska who works at the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw, passionately believes that subtitling is a creative process which requires ample time, experience, and imagination and believes that in order toensure the highest quality in subtitling, filmmakers should be interested in how their subtitled films can “speak” to audiences across the globe. She told the SubtitleNEXT team that she believes subtitling is crucial for the international success of a film, or TV series. “And yet”, she says, “It is surprising how little attention filmmakers typically allocate to subtitling, which – from their perspective – is probably merely an afterthought, a minor part of the post-production process.”

Professor Szarkowska adds further, “I am surprised how many content owners tend to downplay the role of subtitling by resourcing it to people with no experience or by allocating scant amount of funding for subtitling. Filmmakers and content owners need to realise that good quality subtitling is an excellent investment, a brilliant way for their films to travel across borders, and definitely not something where they would want to cut  costs.

Having put so much effort into creating credible film dialogues, filmmakers wouldn’t want their text to be stifled by unidiomatic turn of phrase and poorly synchronised subtitles. When done unprofessionally, subtitling – instead of enabling the viewers immersion into the story world – only shatters their suspension of disbelief, annoys them, makes them switch off and feel disappointed with the film as a whole.”

Defined as an exceptionally dependable subtitling software platform, it is no surprise as to why SubtitleNEXT is referred to by many professionals today as the “subtitler’s lifesaver.” Delivering to high industry standards, the system has an array of immediate resourceful tools and features.

SubtitleNEXT already has a proven track record of success. Throughout the entire pandemic, it has continued to support customers, owing to its flexibility and remote capabilities. Many of the companies that have already adopted SubtitleNEXT include Polsat, Kino Polska, OiV in Croatia, Listen Up in Bulgaria, AMC in Hungary, Hayat, HD Media, OBN, University of Warsaw, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Doli Media Studio and The European School of Translation. Others include Europe’s largest Belgium-based production company Videohouse where SubtitleNEXT was used for well-known TV series such as Big Little Lies, Sirens, Vikings, and others.

Recently Spain’s UCM and Hellenic American College of Greece adopted SubtitleNEXT to equip Masters in Translation students with key localization skills to prepare future subtitlers with a definitive career path to face the pace of demand in the translation and creative industries.

The SubtitleNEXT subtitling platform provides subtitling professionals with many toolsets that can significantly enhance their work, one example being the “live dictation” function which can be used in live subtitling workflows in order to caption news and events in real time which is quite an exciting new development. Many more exciting features have been released and more are on the horizon for 2021.

Visit for further updates on the latestnews and join the SubtitleNEXT club to stay in the “know”.

More about Ivanka Vassileva, CEO of PBT EU, please  


Picture courtesy Liesje Brockley Photograph