New company to provide subtitling service

S4C has announced that Cyfatebol has won the contract to provide the channel's subtitling service.

Cyfatebol will provide English subtitles, including English subtitles for live programmes and those delivered close to time of broadcast and Welsh subtitles for S4C over the next four years.

Cyfatebol is a company with offices in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.

Over the last few months, S4C has been through a tendering process for all of its access services. This includes an audio description service, on screen sign language and a subtitling service.

Previously, three separate companies provided subtitling but it was decided that having one company to provide the entire subtitling service would be more practical in light of further changes at the channel within the coming 12 months.

S4C Chief Executive Owain Evans explained: "The new arrangement will make things easier as the BBC takes responsibility for all of S4C's broadcasting and technological functions during the first quarter of 2019 when all the technological functions of both organisations will be located together in the new BBC Building in Central Square."

The access services are seen as an important way to enable S4C to broaden its audience and appeal to viewers.

Subtitling in Welsh and English, together with signing, audio description and descriptive second screen services provide a range of services that enhance S4C's offering and make content available to those with particular needs as well as to a wider community of Welsh speakers, non-Welsh speakers and learners of all levels of fluency.

"Cyfatebol's approach to our subtitling needs was an innovative package that will improve our flexibility in offering access services for the future," said Mr Evans.

"We are very much looking forward to working with Cyfatebol – a local company which offers the sort of skills and talent that S4C needs in order to offer the best service to our viewers and to ensure a successful future for the channel."

CTV will continue to provide S4C's audio description service and ITV SignPost will continue to provide the channel's signing service. The new contract will begin on 27 February 2019 and will last for four years.

Cyfatebol managing director Owain Saunders-Jones said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with S4C and television production companies all over Wales to provide a new subtitling service.

"We are currently undergoing a period of great change in the broadcast industry in terms of making programmes more accessible to viewers. Cyfatebol is looking forward to working in partnership in order to fully meet the new demands."


During 2018 the following access services were provided by S4C:

Welsh subtitles: These subtitles are provided primarily for viewers with hearing loss who understand Welsh as well as for people learning to speak Welsh. Welsh language subtitles were provided on 13 hours of programmes a week on average. Welsh language and English language subtitles are also available on the S4C Clic service.

English subtitles: The aim of this service is to enhance the appeal of programmes to non-Welsh speaking, and viewers with hearing loss. By pressing the "subtitle" button on the remote control, subtitles can be accessed on all kinds of programmes, including live programmes. Some programmes were broadcast with automatic on-screen subtitles. These are usually repeats of popular programmes. During the year, subtitles were available on 78.24% of programmes (Ofcom's Target is 53%).

Audio Description: The Audio Description service on selected programmes provides a commentary in Welsh to fill the gaps during periods when there is no dialogue in programmes. It includes additional description that assists blind or partially sighted users. The service was provided on 10.63% of programmes (Ofcom's Target is 10%).

Signing: A number of programmes, usually at weekends, are broadcast using BSL (British Sign Language) for deaf viewers and those who use BSL. The service was available on 5.24% of programmes (Ofcom's Target is 5%).

S4C offers opportunities to use, enjoy and listen to Welsh over a range of platforms. With services such as Cyw for young children, Stwnsh for older children, the online brand Hansh, content for learners, dramas which sell internationally, entertainment, factual programmes and sport, our services reach a wide audience.

Cyfatebol offers translation, sound, subtitling, editing and proof-reading services. Cyfatebol is also a publishing and multimedia digital company which has won prizes for its work. Cyfatebol works with clients in the public, corporate, commercial and charity sectors as well as private companies.

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