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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 Germany

← 188 | 189 →Chapter 7


Abstract: This chapter starts with an overview of the hearing-impaired community and the audiovisual landscape in Germany. Subsequently, the results of the survey carried out in March 2010 are presented. In total, 384 participants completed the questionnaire, out of which 253 participants were deaf, 121 were hard of hearing and 10 were hearing. They answered questions regarding their reading and TV viewing habits and their preferences and opinions about SDH regarding, for instance, speed and content of the subtitles, character identification, information on sound and tone and music.

A key finding for German viewers is the demand for all TV programmes to be subtitled and for verbatim subtitles, which would make deaf viewers feel treated just like hearing viewers. Other findings include that most respondents were satisfied with the placement of the subtitles and with the way information on sounds and emotions is given, but almost half of the respondents would like to have more colours for character identification.

Keywords: audiovisual landscape, Germany, hearing-impaired community, questionnaire, SDH, television

The following chapter presents the results of the long questionnaire as part of the DTV4ALL project in Germany. Before the results are discussed in detail, an overview of the hearing-impaired community and the audiovisual landscape in Germany is given.

It is remarkably difficult to find official data about the number of people with hearing loss in Germany. According to a study carried out in 1999 by Wolfgang Sohn (DSB-Report 3/2000), 13.3 million people aged...

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