Captioning to increase in the Netherlands

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Thursday, 1 May 2014 12:25pm

The Dutch culture ministry is introducing new requirements for closed captioning on television, which will now include the commercial television broadcasters as well as the public broadcaster NPO.

Currently, about 20 per cent of programs on Dutch television are foreign language (mainly English), and these are usually broadcast with Dutch subtitles, providing a level of access for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. In addition to this, there has been closed captioning available since teletext was introduced in 1980. Legislation required the NPO to provide closed captioning on 95% of the Dutch-language programs shown on its three channels, Netherlands 1, 2 and 3, by 2011.

The NPO also provides sign language support on some daily news programs, but under the new requirements it must also develop an ‘automated sign language system’ which will become a ‘must carry’ requirement in the future.

There are no requirements to provide audio description yet, although it is available on some NPO programs. The Netherlands does, however, have ‘spoken subtitles’, which means that the Dutch subtitles on foreign language programs are audible for blind or vision impaired people who have the necessary receivers to hear it. In 2011, around 5,000 people had these receivers. Almost all foreign language programs on NPO stations now have spoken subtitles.

For more information about access levels in the Netherlands, see this page on the eAccess+ website.

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