Captioning (Subtitles) in the Theater in Madrid (Spain) – yes!

March 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

Nice to see this in Spain now! Photo is not clear, yet the article is! Congrats to all there.

Public release date: 28-Mar-2011
Contact: Ana Herrera
oic@uc3m.es
Carlos III University of Madrid

A new system for subtitles in the theater in Spain

This release is available in Spanish.

IMAGE: This image of a play is to illustrate the new subtitled system in theater.

Click here for more information. 

The performance took place on March 15 at the María Guerrero Theatre in Madrid, where the play “Woyzeck,” by Georg Büchner could be enjoyed in the version by Juan Mayorga, under the direction of Gerardo Vera. This accessible staging has been promoted with the collaboration of the CESyA and the CDN, which for the first time ever in their theatres programmed a subtitled function for hearing impaired individuals, thanks to technological support from UC3M though a subtitling system, UC3MTitling..

This system carries out subtitling in the real time of events for an audience, without the need for highly qualified personnel. Its area of application is live events based on a pre-established script such as theatre, conferences, ceremonies, etc., which allow the synchronized broadcast of any accessibility element for a live event as it unfolds, and at a low cost. For that purpose, a technician is in charge of previously generating all of the accessibility elements (titles, sign language video and audio description) and afterwards synchronizing and carrying out their broadcast as the play is performed.

Advantages of the system

The main advantage of this system is that the technician can carry out the synchronization of the elements without actually having to be in the theatre where the performance is taking place, explained the UC3M Full Professor, Ángel García Crespo. “Thanks to communications tools for making Internet calls (VoIP), the performance can be followed anywhere,” the researcher noted, who also collaborated with CESyA.

In this way, once the technician begins broadcasting the accessibility elements, they can be broadcast in the theatre by different channels depending on their features: texts for titles, audio for audio description and video for sign language. In addition, because of the high degree of compatibility of the chosen formats, the play’s audience can simultaneously consult them from different devices: mobile phone, PC tablet, PDA, etc

UC3MTitling is a tool which incorporates the necessary procedures to control, on site or at distance, the synchronized projection of accessibility elements (subtitles, video for sign language and audio description) through the different channels associated with the theatre where the play takes place. “In a nutshell,” professor García Crespo concluded, “this subtitling system not only allows individuals with impaired hearing or sight to able to follow such events but the rest of the audience can also benefit from them, thereby achieving complete integration for disabled persons and conditions on par with the rest of the audience.”

This accessible function for persons with hearing impairments through subtitles has been the first in this framework of collaboration whose aim is to set up functions of this type on a regular basis during the 2011-2012 season of the of CDN programming. This agreement is within the framework of social awareness and action for accessible culture that the CESyA is carrying out, as it has done with other entities such as the Academia de Ciencias y Artes Cinematográficas (The Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Science) or different museum organizations.

(thanks to a facebook friend for sharing this with the ccac)

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§ 2 Responses to Captioning (Subtitles) in the Theater in Madrid (Spain) – yes!

  • Rob Peter says:

    Much as I like the news of a play being subtitled in Spain (for which I congratulate all the participants) I would like to point out that the main breakthrough is not technical at all.

    Different systems and SW applications exist for captioning theater plays that have been used successfully for many years in different countries, and yet no plays had been made accessible before in Spain (that I know of) for the hearing impaired.
    Even in Spain different systems have been used for Opera performances and other audiovisual events (where not the hearing impaired but the need of a translation was in fact the main reason for subtitling).

    What I see as really relevant is that things seem to start to move and, hopefully soon, subtitled plays may become as normal in Spain as they are in, say, England.
    I can well imagine the effort required to overcome all the difficulties and get the support of all relevant parties (theater, producers, director, caption creation,…) behind this.

  • ccacblog says:

    Yes, and it’s only “new” in Spain – and how wonderful.
    Rob – have you joined the CCAC? – please consider it so you can share more with membership also.
    As you know and others may know:
    In the USA, c2 is the company – along with TDF (theater development fund), theater captioning is happening in many places. In the UK, the company is Stagetext.
    There are also several “independent” captioners providing this service.
    We sure want to give them all a pat on the back, and currently, in CCAC membership, we have a few very active advocates working on expanding this in a few places….the more the merrier.
    ls/ccac

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