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The Reception of Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Europe

UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, France and Germany

Edited By Pablo Romero-Fresco

This is the first volume to deal specifically with the quality of subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) in Europe, with contributions from the UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, France and Germany. Drawing on the results of the EU-funded project DTV4ALL, the book looks at the issue of quality in the reception of SDH in Europe as a combination of three factors: what viewers think about SDH, how they understand these subtitles and how they view them. The viewers’ preferences have been obtained through questionnaires and their comprehension has been analysed with tests, involving clips with SDH and questions. The viewers’ perception has been measured with eye-tracking technology, involving the analysis of 71,070 subtitles in what is so far the largest international eye-tracking study on subtitling. With this research, we have sought to obtain both subjective (preferences) and objective (comprehension and perception) data that can inform national guidelines on SDH. The book also introduces the notion of viewing speed and points to the existence of certain universals of SDH and subtitling that can contribute to advance our understanding of how different types of viewers from different nationalities view, process and understand subtitles as a means to access audiovisual content.
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Long questionnaire in France: The viewers’ opinion

← 162 | 163 →Chapter 6


Abstract: This article outlines the results of an opinion survey carried out in France from June to September 2010 as part of the EU-funded project DTV4ALL. The questionnaire was available on the website of UNAPEDA, a French deaf and hard-of-hearing association. The objective of the survey, the first of its kind in France, was to examine participants’ opinions on subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing at a national level, with a focus on the norms employed on French TV. It also evoked additional approaches currently used in other countries in order to assess whether or not these would be welcomed in France. The 58 questions were evaluated during the pilot phase of the test by a professional subtitler, a psychologist specialised in communication with hearing-impaired people and a hard-of-hearing French sign language teacher. The primary result shows that the majority of the participants have a negative opinion about televised subtitles in France. Further findings point to a possible need for a revision of specific areas of the current conventions for subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Keywords: conventions, France, hearing loss, questionnaire, SDH, television

In France, the threshold between being hard of hearing and deaf is situated at 90 dB (Gillot 1998, 2). Normal hearing is represented by 0 dB and the various degrees of hearing loss escalate from there. The latest evaluations from ← 163 | 164 →the French national statistics commission (INSEE 2014) state that France has approximately 65,821,000 inhabitants,...

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