Ofcom to audit quality of subtitles

UK regulator Ofcom is to begin a regular audit of the quality of TV broadcasters’ subtitles from next year, to help improve the service for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.

Under new measures introduced today, broadcasters will be required to measure the quality of their subtitling on live TV programmes every six months, for two years.

Ofcom will regularly collate and publish the data it gathers. The move is designed to address what Ofcom describes as continuing problems with the speed, accuracy, synchronisation and presentation of live subtitles, as opposed to pre-prepared subtitling, which it says is generally of good quality.

Broadcasters will be required to submit details of the number and type of errors in live subtitles, as well as details on the speed and latency of putting live subtitles on screen.

Ofcom intends to publish the first report on broadcasters’ measurement work in the spring.