Subtitling revolutionises the way Māori stories are told

By Taroi Black
  • Northland
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington
  • South Island

Live subtitling has revolutionised the way we tell Māori stories. They're the pioneers who use new technology in modern day broadcasting. Te Kāea spoke with our subtitling team to see what challenges and outcomes they come up against.

From reporters writing their scripts in both Māori and English, to our team of subtitlers who upload the English subtitles for all to see.

From there a team of specialists like directors, sound technicians and cameraman all work together to put the final product to air.

Babe Kapa, Subtitling manager, says, “It's a demanding job knowing that you have to understand the difference between each dialect. We also have ensured that the subtitles are simple and easy to read for our viewers.”

On average, a small team of 7 subtitle around 50 shows a month into English.

Kapa says, “This is for our viewers that don't understand our language, so it's a quick turn around and ensuring that our viewers get it.”

For Te Kāea 10 to 12 stories a day are translated to English by reporters and English subtitles are uploaded LIVE, 7 days a week for the half hour bulletin. 

Eva Mahara, Quality Assessor / Trainer , “I have been here for 10 years. And our is increasingly demanding particularly because we have to work very fast. Sometimes we only have half n hour for Te Kāea.    

The biggest challenge facing the subtitlers is to simultaneously subtitle reporters who are live out in the field.

Reporter Harata Brown says, “30 minutes before going to air I have to memorise my words so that it is easier for the subtitlers to follow my scripts, sometimes it's hard work but practise makes perfect.”

Live subtitling requires quick on the spot thinking.

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