FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT DO THE TERMS ‘SDH’ AND ‘HOH’ MEAN IN THE CONTEXT OF SUBTITLING?

SDH and HOH are internationally used terms that describe subtitles for people with hearing impairments. SDH stands for Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. HOH stands for Hard of Hearing. Nowadays, the term ‘SDH’ is used almost exclusively.

WHAT KIND OF ISSUES DOES AUTOMATED SUBTITLING PRESENT?

Issues in automated subtitling include recognition errors during automatic transcription and/or during automatic spotting, when the software cannot differentiate noises and music from dialogue, for instance.

WHAT DOES THE TERM ‘CLOSED CAPTIONS’ MEAN?

The term closed captions refers to subtitles for people with hearing impairments for English language teletext. It is now, however, also used for German-speaking SDH subtitles in German cinema.

WHAT DOES THE TERM ‘OMU’ MEAN?

The term ‘OmU’ (Original mit Untertiteln), means Original Version with Subtitles. This means, a film in a foreign language is subtitled in the native language of the country it is released in or the lingua franca of its intended audience.

ARE PEOPLE WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS GENERALLY INTERESTED IN SUBTITLES?

Yes, people with hearing impairments have a keen interest in subtitles and are also entitled to them in the context of equal opportunity.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SUBTITLE A FEATURE FILM?

The subtitling of a foreign language feature film can take up to a week on average. A number of factors determine turnaround, such as the length of a film, the language combination, the amount of dialogue, the subject matter etc.

WHY EVEN HAVE FILMS SUBTITLED?

Films should be subtitled so that a viewer is able to experience other languages and cultures. Films should be subtitled to enable everyone the experience of films.

WHO USES SUBTITLES?

Film enthusiasts, foreign language learners, viewers who would like to enjoy a collective experience with family or friends, and so on.

WHAT ARE ‘BURNED IN SUBTITLES’?

Burned in Subtitles are part of the video rather than additional information that can be switched on and off. When the video is played, the subtitles automatically appear. These can be provided for promotional or educational videos, YouTube clips, and films for exhibitions.

WHAT SUBTITLE FORMATS EXIST?

The appropriate export format for a subtitling file depends on its intended use or the platform via which the subtitles will be made available. The usual formats for the subtitling of YouTube videos are SRT, or STL. Theater or television projects generally use XML, SRT, and STL. No Limits Media works with established export formats and will find the one suitable for your project.

WHAT IS AUDIO DESCRIPTION?

Compound words using ‘audio’ (Latin for ‘I hear,’ from ‘audire’ meaning ‘to hear’), are terminology relating to hearing or sound engineering. Description or descriptive (from the Latin ‘describere’ meaning ‘to describe’ or ‘to rewrite’), signifies a descriptive or illustrative point of view that claims to be a neutral observation. The objective is a factual depiction. It is used in the domain of accessibility and enables blind and visually impaired people to experience film and television. The original soundtrack is retained and natural pauses in the dialogue are filled by an extra speaker, with impartial descriptions of the visuals, to create a film experience with minimal loss of content.

AND AUDIO DESCRIPTION WITH SYNTHETIC VOICES?

Synthetic voices are an economic alternative to audio description with human voices. They are particularly suited to shorter segments of a maximum of 45 minutes in length. Synthetic voices can also result in considerable savings for feature films, when used for productions such as documentaries, for instance, in which a number of people speak a foreign language and have only been subtitled.

WHAT SORT OF QUALITY CAN BE EXPECTED FROM SYNTHETIC VOICES?

The quality of currently available synthetic voices is constantly improving. Nevertheless, certain concessions still need to be made when it comes to pronunciation, emphasis, and rhythm of speech, in particular when working with longer passages of speech.

WHAT KIND OF AUDIO DESCRTIPTION DOES NO LIMITS MEDIA OFFER?

No Limits Media works with two methods. The first is the classic variant of real human voices, which are particularly suited to feature films. The second is the modern variant of synthetic voices, which are better suited to short projects that are up to 45 minutes long.

HOW IS AUDIO DESCRIPTION UTILIZED?

Audio description can, for instance, be used through the Greta & Starks app. The audio description soundtrack can be downloaded and played back alongside the film. In the event of interruptions, the app resynchronizes with the film’s audio using a so-called ‘digital fingerprint.’

WHAT IS A TRANSCRIPT?

A transcription is the textualization of an audio or video file. There are different levels of nuance regarding the accuracy of notation. When transcribing a video file for the media sector, in most cases the dialogue is reproduced verbatim, and as appropriate, phenomena such as pauses in speech, incomplete sentences, and hesitation, are also indicated.

WHAT TYPES OF TRANSCRIPTION DOES NO LIMITS MEDIA OFFER?

We create transcriptions, which alongside the verbatim rendering of the audio, also include a timecode (the start and end times of speech), and speaker identification. The degree of accuracy can be specified in advance. We transcribe different languages, as well offer translations of transcripts we have produced. We deliver transcripts in a range of formats, such as RTF, DOC, or XLSX. These transcriptions can then also be used as a dialogue list.

DOES NO LIMITS MEDIA OFFER THE PREPARATION OF DIALOGUE LISTS?

We create dialogue lists containing only the verbatim transcription of the audio, time codes, and speaker identification. Additional specifications on pronunciation or dubbing instructions (as with translations for dubbing), are not included.

WHAT IS A CCSL?

CCSL stands for Combined Continuity, Dialogue, and Spotting List. It is a specific format of transcription that in addition to the dialogue, also details instructions, scene descriptions, and music. It is produced in the English language and may be required for US distribution.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WITH A HEARING IMPARIMENT LIVE IN GERMANY?

According to the Deutscher Gehörlosen-Bund (German Association of the Deaf), there are 80,000 deaf people and around 16 million who are hard of hearing. These are approximately the same numbers the WHO arrives at. According to the WHO, 19.8% of the population in Germany is so severely restricted in their hearing ability that aids are required (e.g., subtitles).