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KT offers subtitles in 8 tongues

Foreigners can more easily watch Korean dramas and news

Oct 22,2018
Models introduce KT Olleh TV’s real-time multilingual subtitle service. [KT]
KT’s Olleh internet protocol TV service subscribers will be able to watch TV programs with multilingual subtitles provided in real time.

Beginning from today, Olleh TV subscribers will be able to watch television channels JTBC, MBN, Yonhap News TV and KTV with subtitles in eight foreign languages - English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Vietnamese and Uzbek. KT uses its own internet protocol TV (IPTV) set-top boxes for the Olleh TV service.

The subtitle service is powered by a Google Translate-based technology that the mobile operator developed itself. The subtitles come in real time with a lag of only a few seconds.

“When we receive TV content from the channels we partnered with, they give us the Korean captions as well,” said a KT spokesman. “Our program then uses Google Translate to translate the Korean captions into different languages.”

“We are planning to add Thai and Filipino to our subtitle service by the end of this year,” she added. “We chose to offer subtitle services for the languages that Google Translate translates best, and are spoken most by foreign residents in Korea.”

The subtitle service works for all programs including news, reality shows and drama series. Users can select the subtitles they want to see through the Olleh TV menu.

This is not the first time the mobile operator showcased the subtitle service. In February, KT installed 5,000 IPTVs equipped with the multilingual subtitle service at Olympic venues to broadcast competitions and other activities during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. At the time, it offered subtitles in English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Spanish for foreign athletes, spectators and staff.

KT said it hopes the service will help non-Korean speakers better understand local news in their native languages and have an easier time adjusting to life in Korea. There are around 320,000 multiethnic families and 1.36 million foreign residents in Korea, according to data published by Statistics Korea in 2017.

The mobile operator also said it expects the service will help Koreans trying to learn new languages.

“I hope that the real-time multilingual subtitle service, which KT first showcased in Pyeongchang, will help multiethnic families and foreign residents feel more included,” said Lee Sung-hwan, a senior manager of KT’s media division. “We will continue adding more TV channels and languages so we can help even more foreigners and multicultural families.”

“We have high hopes that KT’s IPTV multilingual subtitle service will help multicultural residents understand Korean society better through the media,” said Shin Suk-ja, head of the Korea Multicultural Families Support Center Association.


BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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