Front Page: Traficom
Front Page: Traficom

Subtitling services in programmes

Providing subtitles for television programmes in Finnish and Swedish is important to enable those with impaired hearing to follow the programmes. In addition to the deaf and hard of hearing, subtitles are useful for other viewers as well, including older people and those learning the language. Subtitles must be provided in the original language of the programme, i.e. in Finnish for Finnish-language programmes and in Swedish for Swedish-language programmes.

When calculating the share of the programmes provided with a subtitling service, the programme hours include all programmes in Finnish and Swedish apart from musical performances and sports programmes via live broadcasts.

For live broadcasts, subtitling service could be provided in connection with repeat broadcasts until the end of 2021. As of the beginning of 2022, the possibility to provide subtitles for repeat broadcasts only applies to regional news. The repeat broadcasts with subtitles must be broadcast at times that are appropriate for audiences within 24 hours after the live broadcast and in the broadcaster’s on-demand programme service as soon as possible after subtitles have been completed.

Audio-subtitling services in programmes 

In audio-subtitling services, any text on the screen is heard as synthesised speech. Audio-subtitling makes it easier for those with visual impairments and print disabilities to watch foreign-language television programmes with translated subtitles.

When calculating the share of the programmes provided with an audio-subtitling service, the programme hours include all the programmes that are not in Finnish or Swedish apart from musical performances and sports programmes via live broadcasts.

Read more about compliance with audio-subtitling and subtitling service obligations (External link)

Quality in subtitling services

The requirement concerning the quality of subtitling services entered into force at the beginning of 2021. According to the law, subtitling services must be of high quality to ensure that subtitles are sufficiently clear and easy to understand for the user. This quality requirement promotes full compliance with accessibility obligations and the ability of special groups to use audio-visual services.

The requirement to provide a high-quality subtitling service concerns the programming subject to quantitative subtitling requirements. Traficom supervises the channels Yle TV1, TV2, Teema&Fem, MTV3 and Nelonen and corresponding services in Yle Areena, MTV-Katsomo and Ruutu.

Traficom has the duty to assess whether subtitling services are of a sufficient quality.  The assessment concerns overall quality. In the assessment, Traficom takes into account any standards and recommendations concerning the quality of subtitling and technical developments in subtitling services. If necessary, Traficom may also apply best practices identified by regulatory authorities in other countries.  The quality of subtitling for programmes for which subtitles are prepared before broadcasting and for live broadcasts is not assessed in the same way. Subtitles for live broadcasts should also be as easy to read and understand as possible even if it is not possible to comply with all technical recommendations. Quality criteria can be considered to include at least the aspects listed below.

Quality criteria