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Broadcasting Europe: Europeana Subtitled

The CEF funded project gathers seven major national broadcasters and audiovisual archives from seven European countries, to provide more than 6,000 high-quality audiovisual materials to Europeana around the theme of broadcasting Europe.

Byggnummer 12 mars 1965, Örebro Kuriren, Örebro läns museum, Sweden, Public domain

Today, the average Internet user spends 84 minutes watching digital videos. This quantity will exceed 100 minutes in 2022. To make cultural audiovisual material accessible, we must break down language barriers and give access to content in multiple languages, also in Europeana. The outreach and impact of audiovisual content on the Europeana platform is currently limited by two factors: the actual quantity of curated content on the platform that can be easily reused by various user groups, and the lack of multilingual access to audiovisual content, which is often only available in the language in which it was originally created. Europeana SUBTITLED aims to address both issues.

Pioneering technology

Europeana SUBTITLED will leverage recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) for automatic speech recognition and machine translation, adapting them to cultural heritage AV materials to produce high-quality captions and English subtitles for the selected video content provided in the project framework. How? To guarantee human-level quality of the output, an online computer-assisted translation tool for quality control and editing will be made available. 

The tool will present to users the outputs of the automatic systems and will provide back to them the human corrections for continuous learning of the AI algorithms. Both paid (professional) and community (volunteers) translators will be engaged, and in particular, the existing community of more than 200,000 professional translators, working on the platform of the project coordinator, will be engaged to correct the automatically generated subtitles produced in the project framework, using multiple strategies, including matching translators with content that they care about. The subtitling platform will be connected to the Europeana CSP, offering a transformational opportunity for the Europeana collections to be more accessible and usable for a more diverse group of end-users, ranging from education to research and the general public.

Screenshots of political, social and cultural programming content from (clockwise): RTV SLO, Deutsche Welle, TVR, ERT

Broadcasting Europe

Under the theme ‘Broadcasting Europe” we started curating a selection of audiovisual material for Europeana Collections and Europeana Classroom that highlights how society has been reflected on the television screen in the past eight decades during times of conflict, restrictive regimes, political change and peace. We are especially focussing on the use of propaganda, political bias, misinformation and mass information campaigns from the 1930s through to the present day. Highlights of new material include news clips of communist-era Romania; propaganda newsreels from the former Dutch colony of Indonesia; documentaries of Spain from the time of Franco’s regime to joining the EU and recent documentary footage from Greece of the economic crisis. These clips will be complemented by a selection of material from EUscreen’s core collection that has been largely overlooked on the EUscreen and Europeana site due to language barriers. The EUscreen collection currently features 64,000 clips in more than 40 different languages from 26 providers in 25 countries, divided into seventeen thematic collections.

TV-APPARAT, Radiola Minett Typ 8410, Vänersborgs museum, Sweden, CC BY

In the current zeitgeist, there is huge momentum behind social equality grassroots movements taking hold across Europe and looming economic uncertainty due to the long reach of the Covid-19 pandemic. So it’s more important than ever to offer European citizens, and especially the younger generation of students, opportunities to engage with a cross-cultural understanding of European democracy and the decades-long journey towards the current society we all share. The newly aggregated content, complemented by the already published material from the EUscreen curated collection, will be showcased in a series of editorials on the Europeana platform, including blog posts, galleries and exhibitions (see links below). Most importantly, this new and now more widely accessible content will form the basis for a series of scalable and replicable Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) based materials for the Europeana Classroom collection. The CLIL learning scenarios are currently being designed with a group of experienced educators. This new educational content is being developed by using the subtitle-a-thon environment, an innovative tool built in the frame of the Europeana XX Century of Change project.

Reaching out and maximising impact

With an active pro-diversity and anti-discriminatory curatorial approach, the project’s editorial activity and crowdsourcing events will engage not only educators and students but will also welcome the general public to engage with a rich selection of historical and educational audiovisual material on European social, political and cultural topics. By doing so, we aim to stimulate discussions and promote cross-cultural understanding about the relevance of the recent past to the present day. Furthermore, through a series of mini-guides and workshops, we also aim to further the impact and replicability of our activities amongst educators and CHIs who want to learn how to create and work with multilingual Europeana audiovisual content.

Explore the project blogs and galleries: