During a meeting from the European branch of MESA (Media & Entertainment Services Alliance) and HITS (Hollywood IT Industry) in London, the SUMMA team organised a session on language technologies applied to videos for broadcast or film. Pressing topics in on localisation are addressed: Are the technologies useful for processing broadcast content and movies? Is the technology good enough? Is post-processing to a publication quality faster and more efficient than manual translation?

In a brief introduction, Peggy van der Kreeft from the Innovation Projects department of the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle addressed potential applications of language technologies, including transcription, subtitling and automated translation for broadcast content, be it for live TV, video-on-demand, online audio or text material. She showed workflow examples in which broadcasters such as Deutsche Welle and the BBC are or have been involved: the ongoing SUMMA project, the recently finished work on EUMSSI and ALTO, and the brand-new speech.media undertaking – which all apply automated transcription and translation in different ways.

Dr. Peter Bell from the Centre for Speech Technology Research of the University of Edinburgh explained the process of automated subtitling and the status for different languages. He talked about applying those technologies to news and entertainment content and about the associated challenges and potential.

Dr. Alexandra Birch, also from the University of Edinburgh, focused on the actual machine translation process and discussed major recent progress made through applying neural networks, leading to the highly successful NMT (neural machine translation) methods. She elaborated on how differences in translation quality depends on the language pairs involved, the amount of training data available, and the type of text involved.

The three speakers were joined by Chris Hernon, representing BBC Monitoring.

A question-and-answer session showed considerable interest from the media and entertainment industry in such solutions to automate subtitling of videos. During the networking session afterwards, specific aspects and potential collaboration were discussed. A hands-on demo of the tools with DW broadcast content followed, and one-on-one in-depth discussions and questions on the potential of such language technologies to convert broadcast and other media content from one language into another.