Subtitle Captioning (Part1 of 2)

From: Wikipedia, Subtitle Captioning
Subtitles are derived from either a transcript or screenplay of the dialog or commentary in films, television programs, video games, and the like, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen, but can also be at the top of the screen if there is already text at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialog in a foreign language, or a written rendering of the dialog in the same language, with or without added information to help viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow the dialog, or people who cannot understand the spoken dialogue or who have accent recognition problems. The encoded method can either be pre-rendered w ith the video or separate as either a graphic or text to be rendered and overlaid by the receiver. The separate subtitles are used for DVD, Blu-ray and television teletext/Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) subtitling or EIA-608 captioning, which are hidden unless requested by the viewer from a menu or remote controller key or by selecting the relevant page or service (e.g., p. 888 or CC1), always carry additional sound representations for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Teletext subtitle language follows the original audio, except in multi-lingual countries where the broadcaster may provide subtitles in additional languages on other teletext pages.
EIA-608 captions are similar, except that North American Spanish stations may provide captioning in Spanish on CC3. DVD and Blu-ray only differ in using run-length encoded graphics instead of text, as well as some HD DVB broadcasts. Sometimes, mainly at film festivals, subtitles may be shown on a separate display below the screen, thus saving the film-maker from creating a subtitled copy for perhaps just one showing. Television subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing is also referred to as closed captioning in some countries. More exceptional uses also include operas, such as Verdi’s Aida, where sung lyrics in Italian are subtitled in English or in another local language outside the stage area on luminous screens for the audience to follow the storyline, or on a screen attached to the back of the chairs in front of the audience.
The word “subtitle” is the prefix “sub-” (below) followed by “title”. In some cases, such as live opera, the dialog is displayed above the stage in what are referred to as “surtitles” (“sur-” for “above”).

Subtitle History

Subtitle Creation

Today, professional subtitlers usually work with specialized computer software and hardware where the video is digitally stored on a hard disk, making each individual frame instantly accessible. Besides creating the subtitles, the subtitler usually also tells the computer software the exact positions where each subtitle should appear and disappear. For cinema film, this task is traditionally done by separate technicians. The end result is a subtitle file containing the actual subtitles as well as position markers indicating where each subtitle should appear and disappear. These markers are usually based on timecode
if it is a work for electronic media (e.g., TV, video, DVD), or on film length (measured in feet and frames) if the subtitles are to be used for traditional cinema film.
The finished subtitle file is used to add the subtitles to the picture, either :

  • directly into the picture (open subtitles);
  • embedded in the vertical interval and later superimposed on the picture by the end user with the help of an external decoder or a decoder built into the TV (closed subtitles on TV or video);
  • or converted (rendered) to tiff or bmp graphics that are later superimposed on the picture by the end user’s equipment (closed subtitles on DVD or as part of a DVB broadcast).

Subtitles can also be created by individuals using freely available subtitle-creation software like Subtitle Workshop for Windows, MovieCaptioner for Mac/Windows, and Subtitle Composer for Linux, and then hardcode them onto a video file with programs such as VirtualDub in combination with VSFilter which could also be used to show subtitles as softsubs in many software video players.
For multimedia-style Webcasting, check:

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Same Language Captions

Same-language captions, i.e., without translation, were primarily intended as an aid for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Internationally, there are several major studies which demonstrate that same-language captioning can have a major impact on literacy and reading growth across a broad range of reading abilities.[1][2] This method of subtitling is used by national television broadcasters in China and in India such as Doordarshan. This idea was struck upon by Brij Kothari, who believed that SLS makes reading practice an incidental, automatic, and subconscious part of popular TV entertainment, at a low per-person cost to shore up literacy rates in India.

Same Language Subtitling
(SLS) is the use of Synchronized Captioning of Musical Lyrics (or any
text with an Audio/Video/ source) as a Repeated Reading activity. The basic reading activity involves students viewing a short subtitled presentation projected onscreen, while completing a response worksheet.
To be really effective, the subtitling should have high quality synchronization of audio and text, and better yet, subtitling should change color in syllabic synchronization to audio model, and the text should be at a level to challenge students’ language abilities.[3][4]

Closed Captions

The “CC in a TV” symbol Jack Foley created, while senior graphic designer at Boston public broadcaster WGBH that invented captioning for television, is public domain so that anyone who captions TV programs can use it.

Closed captioning is the American term for closed subtitles specifically intended for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. These are a transcription rather than a translation, and usually contain descriptions of important non-dialog audio as well such as “(sighs)” or “(door creaks)” and lyrics. From the expression “closed captions” the word “caption” has in recent years come to mean a subtitle intended for the hard of hearing, be it “open” or “closed”. In British English “subtitles” usually refers to subtitles for the hard of hearing (HoH); however, the term “HoH subtitles” is sometimes used when there is a need to make a distinction between the two.

Real-Time

Programs such as news bulletins, current affairs programs, sport, some talk shows and political and special events utilize real time or online captioning.[5] Live captioning is increasingly common, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, as a result of regulations that stipulate that virtually all TV eventually must be accessible for people who are deaf and hard–of–hearing.[6]
In practice, however, these “real time” subtitles will typically lag the audio by several seconds due to the inherent delay in transcribing, encoding, and transmitting the subtitles. Real time subtitles are also challenged by typographic errors or mis-hearing of the spoken words, with no time available to correct before transmission.

Pre-Prepared Subtitle

Some programs may be prepared in their entirety several hours before broadcast, but with insufficient time to prepare a timecoded caption file for automatic play-out. Pre-prepared captions look similar to offline captions, although the accuracy of cueing may be compromised slightly as the captions are not locked to program timecode.[5]
Newsroom captioning involves the automatic transfer of text from the newsroom computer system to a device which outputs it as captions. It does work, but its suitability as an exclusive system would only apply to programs which had been scripted in their entirety on the newsroom computer system, such as short interstitial updates.[5]
In the United States and Canada, some broadcasters have used it exclusively and simply left uncaptioned sections of the bulletin for which a script was unavailable.[5]
Newsroom captioning limits captions to pre-scripted materials and, therefore, does not cover 100% of the news, weather and sports segments of a typical local news broadcast which are typically not pre-scripted, last-second breaking news or changes to the scripts, ad lib conversations of the broadcasters, emergency or other live remote broadcasts by reporters in-the-field. By failing to cover items such as these, newsroom style captioning (or use of the Teleprompter for captioning) typically results in coverage of less than 30% of a local news broadcast.[7]

Live

Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) stenographers, who use a computer with using either stenotype or Velotype keyboards to transcribe stenographic input for presentation as captions within 2–3 seconds of the representing audio, must caption anything which is purely live and unscripted[where?];[5] however, the most recent developments include operators using speech recognition software and revoicing the dialog. Speech recognition technology has advanced so quickly in the United States that about 50% of all live captioning is through speech recognition as of 2005.[citation needed] Real-time captions look different from offline captions, as they are presented as a continuous flow of text as people speak.[5][clarification needed]
Real-time stenographers are the most highly skilled in their profession. Stenography is a system of rendering words phonetically, and English, with its multitude of homophones (e.g., there, their, they’re), is particularly unsuited to easy transcriptions. Stenographers working in courts and inquiries usually have 24 hours in which to deliver their transcripts. Consequently, they may enter the same phonetic stenographic codes for a variety of homophones, and fix up the spelling later. Real-time stenographers must deliver their transcriptions accurately and immediately. They must therefore develop techniques for keying homophones differently, and be unswayed by the pressures of delivering accurate product on immediate demand.[5]
Submissions to recent captioning-related inquiries have revealed concerns from broadcasters about captioning sports. Captioning sports may also affect many different people because of the weather outside of it. In much sport captioning’s absence, the Australian Caption Centre submitted to the National Working Party on Captioning (NWPC), in November 1998, three examples of sport captioning, each performed on tennis, rugby league and swimming programs:

  1. Heavily reduced: Captioners ignore commentary and provide only scores and essential information such as “try” or “out”.
  2. Significantly reduced: Captioners use QWERTY
    input to type summary captions yielding the essence of what the
    commentators are saying, delayed due to the limitations of QWERTY input.
  3. Comprehensive realtime: Captioners use stenography to caption the commentary in its entirety.[5]

The NWPC concluded that the standard they accept is the comprehensive real-time method, which gives them access to the commentary in its entirety. Also, not all sports are live. Many events are pre-recorded hours before they are broadcast, allowing a captioner to caption them using offline methods.[5]

Hybrid

Because different programs are produced under different conditions, a case-by-case basis must consequently determine captioning methodology. Some bulletins may have a high incidence of truly live material, or insufficient access to video feeds and scripts may be provided to the captioning facility, making stenography unavoidable. Other bulletins may be pre-recorded just before going to air, making pre-prepared text preferable.[5]
In Australia and the United Kingdom, hybrid methodologies have proven to be the best way to provide comprehensive, accurate and cost-effective captions on news and current affairs programs. News captioning applications currently available are designed to accept text from a variety of inputs: stenography, Velotype, QWERTY, ASCII
import, and the newsroom computer. This allows one facility to handle a variety of online captioning requirements and to ensure that captioners properly caption all programs.[5]
Current affairs programs usually require stenographic assistance. Even though the segments which comprise a current affairs program may be produced in advance, they are usually done so just before on-air time and their duration makes QWERTY input of text unfeasible.[5]
News bulletins, on the other hand, can often be captioned without stenographic input (unless there are live crosses or ad-libbing by the presenters). This is because:

  1. Most items are scripted on the newsroom computer system and this text can be electronically imported into the captioning system.
  2. Individual news stories are of short duration, so even if they are made available only just prior to broadcast, there is still time to QWERTY in text.[5]

Offline

For non-live, or pre-recorded programs, television program providers can choose offline captioning. Captioners gear offline captioning toward the high-end television industry, providing highly customized captioning features, such as pop-on style captions, specialized screen placement, speaker identifications, italics, special characters, and sound effects.[8]
Offline captioning involves a five-step design and editing process, and does much more than simply display the text of a program. Offline
captioning helps the viewer follow a story line, become aware of mood and feeling, and allows them to fully enjoy the entire viewing experience. Offline captioning is the preferred presentation style for
entertainment-type programming.[8]

SDH

Subtitles for the deaf or hard-of-hearing (SDH) is an American term introduced by the DVD industry. It refers to regular subtitles in the original language where important non-dialog information has been added, as well as speaker identification, which may be useful when the viewer cannot otherwise visually tell who is saying what.
The only significant difference for the user between SDH subtitles and closed captions is their appearance: SDH subtitles usually are displayed with the same proportional font used for the translation
subtitles on the DVD; however, closed captions are displayed as white text on a black band, which blocks a large portion of the view. Closed captioning is falling out of favor as many users have no difficulty
reading SDH subtitles, which are text with contrast outline. In
addition, DVD subtitles can specify many colors, on the same character: primary, outline, shadow, and background. This allows subtitlers to display subtitles on a usually translucent band for easier reading; however, this is rare, since most subtitles use an outline and shadow instead, in order to block a smaller portion of the picture. Closed captions may still supersede DVD subtitles, since many SDH subtitles present all of the text centered, while closed captions usually specify position on the screen: centered, left align, right align, top, etc.
This is helpful for speaker identification and overlapping conversation. Some SDH subtitles (such as the subtitles of newer Universal Studios DVDs/Blu-ray Discs) do have positioning, but it is not as common.
DVDs for the U.S. market now sometimes have three forms of English subtitles: SDH subtitles; English subtitles, helpful for viewers who may not be hearing impaired but whose first language may not be English (although they are usually an exact transcript and not simplified); and closed caption data that is decoded by the end-user’s closed caption decoder. Most anime releases in the U.S. only include as subtitles
translations of the original material; therefore, SDH subtitles of English dubs (“dubtitles”) are uncommon. [9][10]
High-definition disc media (HD DVD, Blu-ray Disc) uses SDH subtitles as the sole method because technical specifications do not require HD to support line 21 closed captions. Some Blu-ray Discs, however, are said to carry a closed caption stream that only displays through standard-definition connections.
Many HDTVs allow the end–user to customize the captions, including the ability to remove the black band.

Use by Those Not Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Although same-language subtitles and captions are produced primarily with the deaf and hard of hearing in mind, many hearing film and television viewers choose to use them. This is often done because the presence of closed captioning and subtitles ensures that not one word of dialogue will be missed. Bars and other noisy public places, where film dialogue would otherwise be drowned out, often make closed captions visible for patrons. Viewers may also find thick regional accents from other same-language countries hard to understand without subtitles. Films and television shows often have subtitles displayed in the same language if the speaker has a speech impairment. In addition, captions may reveal information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain from hearing. Some examples would be song lyrics, dialog spoken quietly or by those with accents unfamiliar to the intended audience, or supportive, minor dialog from background characters. It is argued[weasel words] that such additional information and detail enhances the overall
experience and allows the viewer a better grasp of the material. Furthermore, people learning a foreign language may sometimes use
same-language subtitles to better understand the dialog without having
to resort to a translation.

Asia

In some Asian television programming, captioning is considered a part of the genre, and has evolved beyond simply capturing what is being said. The captions are used artistically; it is common to see the words appear one by one as they are spoken, in a multitude of fonts, colors, and sizes that capture the spirit of what is being said. Languages like
Japanese also have a rich vocabulary of onomatopoeia which is used in captioning.

East Asia

In some East Asian countries, such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, subtitling is common in all taped television programs. In these countries, written text remains mostly uniform while regional dialects in the spoken form can be mutually unintelligible. Therefore, subtitling offers a distinct advantage to aid comprehension. With subtitles, programs in Putonghua, the standard Mandarin, or any dialect can be understood by viewers unfamiliar with it.
Open subtitles as seen in Japanese variety television shows are more for decorative purpose, something that is not seen in television in Europe and the Americas. Some shows even place sound effects over those subtitles. This practice of subtitling has been spread to neighbouring countries including South Korea and Taiwan. ATV in Hong Kong once practiced this style of decorative subtitles on its variety shows when it was owned by Want Want Holdings, the company that owns Taiwanese broadcasters CTV and CTI through the subsidiary China Times Media Group.

South Asia

In India, Same Language Subtitling (SLS) are common for films and music videos. SLS refers to the idea of subtitling in the same language as the audio. SLS is highlighted karaoke style, that is, to speech. The idea of SLS was initiated to shore up literacy rates as SLS makes reading practice an incidental, automatic, and subconscious part of popular TV entertainment. This idea was well received by the Government of India which now uses SLS on several national channels, including Doordarshan.[1][11] <

Translation

Subtitles can be used to translate dialog from a foreign language into the native language of the audience. It is not only the quickest and cheapest method of translating content, but is also usually preferred as it is possible for the audience to hear the original dialog and voices of the actors. Subtitle translation can be different from the translation of written text. Usually, during the process of creating subtitles for a film or television program, the picture and each sentence of the audio are analyzed by the subtitle translator; also, the subtitle translator may or may not have access to a written transcript of the dialog.
Especially in the field of commercial subtitles, the subtitle translator often interprets what is meant, rather than translating the manner in which the dialog is stated; that is, the meaning is more important than the form. The audience does not always appreciate this, as it can be frustrating for people who are familiar with some of the spoken language; spoken language may contain verbal padding or culturally implied meanings that cannot be conveyed in the written subtitles. Also, the subtitle translator may also condense the dialog to achieve an acceptable reading speed, whereby purpose is more important than form.
Especially in fansubs, the subtitle translator may translate both form and meaning. The subtitle translator may also choose to display a note in the subtitles, usually in parentheses (“(” and “)”), or as a separate block of on-screen text—this allows the subtitle translator to preserve form and achieve an acceptable reading speed; that is, the subtitle translator may leave a note on the screen, even after the character has finished speaking, to both preserve form and facilitate understanding. For example, the Japanese language has multiple first-person pronouns (see Japanese pronouns) and each pronoun is assoc iated with a different degree of politeness.
In order to compensate during the English translation process, the subtitle translator may reformulate the sentence, add appropriate words and/or use notes. <

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