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SUMAT - an Online Service for Subtitling by Machine Translation

270919 - Pilot B

 

 

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At a glance

PSP -2009.6.1 - Open linguistic infrastructure

Subtitling plays a very important role as it is the preferred multimedia content translation method in most of the European countries and for most of the genres, to make audiovisual content widely accessible across languages. The increasing use and transmission of digital multimedia and multilingual content through the web, DVDs and the current European and National policies promoting the subtitling of contents broadcasted by public TVs have had as a consequence that subtitling demands have increased in recent years, the associated market size being very important.

However, subtitling and subtitle translation face some important problems that are preventing the expansion of the market and are therefore hindering new business opportunities to arise: cost, time and quality. There is a clear need to increase the productivity of subtitle translation procedures, reducing costs and turnaround times while enhancing the quality of the translation results. Then, subtitling and audiovisual translation have been recognized as areas that could greatly benefit from the introduction of Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) followed by post-editing, in order to increase productivity and enhance the quality of the results. Therefore, the SUMAT project will increase the efficiency and productivity of the European subtitle industry, while enhancing the quality of its results, thanks to the effective introduction of SMT technologies in the subtitle translation processes.

SUMAT will develop an online subtitle translation service addressing 9 different European languages combined into 14 different language pairs, with the aim to semi-automatize at a large scale the subtitle translation processes of both freelance translators and subtitling companies, in order to optimize their efficiency and productivity thereby helping them to meet the market demands.

Challenge

In the increasingly multimedia world we live in, the European audiovisual sector is a growth industry that generates both cultural and economic benefits across many borders. Within this industry, due to the increasing globalization of our world and the multilingual nature of Europe, subtitling plays a very important role as it is the preferred multimedia content translation method in most of the European countries and for most of the genres, being also the cheapest solution used by the audiovisual industry to make audiovisual content widely accessible across languages. The increasing use and transmission of digital multimedia and multilingual content through the Web, the popularity of DVDs, and the current European and National policies aiming to promote the subtitling of all content broadcasted by public TVs have had as a consequence that the demand of subtitling by the European Audiovisual industry has increased in recent years. The increase of the demand has had as an important consequence the enlargement of the associated market size, which is very relevant: only at a European level, a study carried out in 2006 estimated that the 2006 turnover for the European dubbing and subtitling industries was between 372 million € (minimum estimate) and 465 million € (maximum estimate). Another study carried out in 2009 for the European Commission estimated that the same market in 2008 was already of 633 M€.

However, subtitling and subtitle translation processes face some important problems that are preventing the expansion of the market and are therefore hindering new business opportunities to arise within the European audiovisual industry:

  • Cost and Time: subtitling is a costly process both in human and economical terms, which has as a consequence that subtitling and subtitle translation is expensive and time consuming.
  • Increasing demand accompanied by tight deadlines: the important increase of the demand has been accompanied with increasingly tight deadlines for subtitle translation companies, so that the companies have difficulties in complying with the market demands.
  • Quality: currently the quality of audiovisual translation is threatened by the increase of the demand and the associated pressure on the market (price dumping and pressure on clients’ budgets due to the global economic downturn has as a consequence that subtitling companies cannot always employ properly qualified people and do not provide them with enough time to produce a high-quality product).

In short, the European audiovisual industry needs to increase the productivity of its subtitle translation processes, reducing their costs and turnaround times while enhancing the quality of the results. In this context, subtitling and audiovisual translation have been recognized as areas that could greatly benefit from the introduction of Machine Translation techniques, and specially Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) followed by post-editing, in order to increase productivity and enhance the quality of the results.

Goal

Therefore, the main objective of the SUMAT project is to increase the efficiency and productivity of the subtitle translation processes via the effective introduction of SMT technologies, in order to foster the circulation of European audiovisual works and promote cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe. SUMAT will develop an online subtitle translation service addressing nine different European languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese, Slovenian and Serbian) combined into fourteen different language pairs, with the aim to semi-automatize at a large scale the subtitle translation processes of both freelance translators and subtitling companies, in order to optimize their efficiency and productivity thereby helping them meet the high market demands.

Co-ordinator

Contact Person:

Name: Dr. Arantza del Pozo

Tel: +[34] 943 30 92 30

Fax: +[34] 943 30 93 93

E-mail: adelpozo@vicomtech.org

Organisation: Vicomtech

 







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