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Ofcom to audit subtitles on live TV programmes

Ofcom has announced plans to start regular audits of the quality of TV broadcasters’ subtitles from next year.

It was announced in May that there would be twice-yearly reports to try to cut down on gaffes, but now it is known that Ofcom will also look at live programming, as well as some pre-recorded programmes, where the subtitles have to be created live and are therefore more prone to errors.

Ofcom will also use the evidence from the reports to consider whether changes to its current guidance on latency and speed might be appropriate, and whether to set targets for broadcasters to meet.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom consumer group director, said: “We are taking important steps towards improving the quality of subtitling on live programmes for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.

“Ofcom expects regular reporting by broadcasters to help improve subtitles over time, as well as allowing us to identify exactly which areas need most progress.”

Ofcom has asked broadcasters to report early next year on how many pre-recorded programmes had to be subtitled live because they were delivered late. In addition, Ofcom is asking broadcasters to report on any technical problems that disrupted subtitling.

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