W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tt@w3.org > February 2003

Re: TT and subtitling nomenclature

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 09:01:05 -0500
Message-Id: <a05111a20ba681812b3c6@[]>
To: TimedText <public-tt@w3.org>

>From: "Glenn A. Adams" <[13]glenn@xfsi.com>
>In a recent working document in SMPTE, these have been defined as follows:
>>	Text that is a representation, often in the same language, of 
>>dialog and audio events occurring during scenes of a motion 
>>picture. (Generally associated with dialog and audio event 
>>translation for the deaf and hard of hearing.)
>>	Text that is a representation, in a different language, of 
>>dialog occurring during scenes of a motion picture. Generally 
>>associated with dialog translation for localization of a motion 
>>picture in a particular territory.

And then:

>From: [13]Johnb@screen.subtitling.com
>Captioning is NOT always in the language of the program audio - for 
>example in the UK it is perfectly feasible on DTT (digital 
>terrestrial TV) to have English subtitles AND English captions (as 
>separate user selections) for a Welsh language (audio) program.

Until rather recently, I was totally hardcore on the issue of 
captions=transcription and subtitles=translation.

Then I started watching foreign DVDs. I own and have watched several 
with heretofore-unseen combinations:

* Same-language subtitles (SLS; near-universal in English- and 
French-language DVDs in North America).
	Audience: Not entirely clear. For Asian markets in 
particular, and in some European countries, apparently for viewers 
with half-arsed fluency in English who kind of understand the 
dialogue but need reinforcement. (Some of these people complain when 
you caption a word like "Hello." They say "I know that word. You 
don't have to write it.")
	Other audience: Implicitly, deaf viewers, typically where the 
studio is too cheap to provide actual captions using subpictures. 
(It's possible to track the actual month in which U.S. studios 
switched from English captions in subpictures to English SLS in 
	Third audience: Hearing people watching a dubbed version with 
English subtitles, an imaginable combo.

* Foreign-language subtitles as DVD subpictures.
	Audience: Hearing viewers who don't understand the dialogue.

* English-language Line 21 closed captions based on the English 
subtitle track (itself very different from the dubbing script) that 
either do or do not include NSI (non-speech information).
	Audience: When NSI is not included, I can't figure it out. 
When it is included, deaf viewers.

Examples? Region 1 discs of _Amélie_, _Crouching Tiger, Hidden 
Dragon_, _Run Lola Run_.

Other example? A unique one, in my experience? The music video »Feuer 
Frei« by Rammstein, with German speech and English Line 21 captions 
(by Captions, Inc.-- I have 'er on tape).

More? _Monty Python and the Holy Grail_ with English-language 
subtitles from _Henry IV, Part II_.

And another: Audience-participation subtitles in _The Rocky Horror 
Picture Show_ ("Throw your RICE!").

So in fact, captions != transcription anymore, and subtitles != 
translation. Kray-zee, huh?

I'm liking this from Al Gilman:

>Candidate primitive terms in a Dublin Core sense in this application are
>- natural language (done)
>- language level [TBD -- education community in the lead -- ISO/IEC 
>- kinds of sounds (speech, [other categories to be named -- effects? 
>sonicons?  wallpaper? action? -- Dublin Core -like process of 
>intercommunity harmonization of concepts]
>- rough order of coverage [fragmentary, substantial, partial]

I love the Dublin Core concept, use it to excess, don't understand it 
well, and wish I really understood what they're gonna talk about at 
the DC-Accessibility conference/meeting 
<http://dublincore.org/groups/access/>, which I can't even find a Web 
link for.

>From: Charles Wiltgen <[13]lists@wiltgen.net>
>     Subtitles
>         - Intended for all viewers who speak a given language*

*Read*, I assume you mean. And not *all*: Deaf people would disagree 
with the expectation that subtitles are intended for them.

>         - Displayed by default for those viewers

Not on DVDs.

>         - Includes dialog only

And not even all of it. _Talk to Her_ left an entire five-minute 
diegetic music sequence unsubtitled, for example.

>This needs to be defined as part of the standard since content may 
>include both subtitles and captioning (although they will generally 
>be exclusive).

One or the other? Not on DVD.

     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Weblogs and articles <http://joeclark.org/weblogs/>
     <http://joeclark.org/writing/> | <http://fawny.org/>
Received on Thursday, 6 February 2003 09:03:22 UTC

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