To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of (a) current and (b) projected use of voice recognition in the production of closed caption television subtitles; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: None. However, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) monitors developments in subtitling technology which includes systems currently available for using voice recognition.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made by her Department of the (a) literacy and (b) other benefits of the provision of closed caption television subtitles for viewers for whom English is their second language; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 3 June 2003]: None. The primary purpose of subtitles is for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, rather than people whose first language is not English. All ITC research to date looks at comprehension by people with hearing impairments.The ITC Guidance on Standards for Subtitling does give guidance on enhancing the comprehension of subtitles. This guidance focuses on two areas—the first is aimed at reducing the number of words on the screen by re-phrasing to reduce the complexity of a sentence while maintaining the original meaning; the second area is aimed at the reading comprehension of children.