The development and use of an electric keyboard for television subtitling by Palantype
Review articleOpen access

In addition to providing a news and information service, the B.B.C. Ceefax teletext system is an ideal means of transmitting subtitles for deaf viewers without impairing normal pictures. Experiments have recently been carried out in the B.B.C. using Palantype machine shorthand for the rapid transcription of subtitles. For this work, a Palantype keyboard was linked to a computer which translated the phonetic shorthand into English subtitles. Two approaches to the problem of deriving electrical signals from the keyboard were investigated: the modification of an existing Palantype printer, and the development of a new keyboard. Tests have shown that a new keyboard designed to duplicate the profile of original printer provides a very satisfactory solution.Although real-time subtitling suffers from the disadvantages of not allowing editing of the text and imposing a delay in presentation of the subtitle, live demonstrations of the Palantype system have shown its potential. Further work on improving the accuracy of translation of the shorthand, and improved methods of presentation of subtitles on the screen, may produce an economic method of subtitling where verbatim reporting is essential.

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