Programme Content

In designing and presenting television programme content, the aim should be to ensure that it can be perceived, understood and enjoyed by the maximum number of its intended viewers. There are two areas where particular attention must be paid in order to make sure that this aim is achieved:

  • The presentation of text and graphics displayed within a
    programme. For example, competition entry instructions, opening and closing
    credits, contact telephone numbers, names of people being interviewed, foreign
    language subtitles, website addresses, sports scores, scrolling news tickers,
    and so on.
  • Content access services provided for people with sensory
    impairments or language difficulties. These include interlingual subtitles,
    dubbing, audio description and sign language interpreting.

For text and graphics displayed within a programme, the aim should be to ensure that the information they contain is available, readable and understandable for all viewers.

For content access services, the aim is to ensure they can be correctly read, heard or seen and that they are understandable, informative, unobtrusive and contribute to the enjoyment of watching the programme. Access services include the following:

Interlingual subtitles: On-screen text included within a programme to provide a translation from the language spoken or written in the programme to another language. Commonly used to translate imported foreign language programmes into the national language. Also used to translate programmes into the natural languages of different sections of the viewing population.

Subtitles for people who are deaf or hard of hearing: Text included within a programme and displayed on screen to convey the information contained in the programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Audio description: A narrative voiceover inserted between the dialogue and other programme sounds to convey the information provided by visual content to viewers with vision impairments.

Sign language interpreting: The presentation in a sign language of the programme audio (speech and other sounds) for viewers who are deaf and use sign language. Sign languages typically use hand shapes, movement, body language and facial expressions to convey meaning

Spoken subtitles: A spoken voice that reads aloud interlingual subtitles for viewers with vision or reading impairments. This can be either included with the programme or generated by the viewer’s receiver using speech synthesis.

Dubbing: The editing of the audio track to replace voices in one language with voices in a different language.

Lectoring: A spoken narration over the existing audio which is reduced in volume but can still be heard in the background. Sometimes used in preference to dubbing, which is similar but completely replaces the original audio.

This section includes detailed guidelines for the main content access services subtitles, audio description and sign language interpreting.