Time delay to live programmes proposed to aid subtitles

Example of inaccurate subtitles This subtitling error appeared on an edition of ITV's Loose Women

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Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is proposing a time delay to live programmes in order to improve the quality of subtitles.

The regulator has released a list of proposals it hopes will address viewers' concerns.

Subtitles are used by more than a million people with hearing impairments to watch television.

Viewers have complained about subtitles that are delayed, freeze or disappear or which contain inaccuracies.

These can range from minor spelling errors to major omissions and misleading subtitles.

Ofcom said that as pre-prepared subtitling is generally of a good quality, they are asking broadcasters on the feasibility of delaying live programmes for a few seconds.

Under the current rules, broadcasters must report to Ofcom on the amount of subtitling they provide. The watchdog is now proposing they also report on the quality of their subtitles.

The watchdog is also proposing to publish reports every six months on subtitling standards and to monitor the number of programmes that are delivered late, resulting in live subtitling.

Seventy TV channels now provide subtitling in the UK. Ofcom's consultation on subtitling will close on 25 July 2013.

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