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Dual-language webcasting

By June 24, 2013 One Comment

We’re pretty proud of our record dealing with clients’ technical issues around webcasting. It’s something we know sets us apart from a lot of the competition, so it always seems right to tell people when we’ve done something that we know has worked well.

One such example is the dual language webcasting facility we have installed for Carmarthernshire County Council. The County holds meetings where members speak in both Welsh and English so on becoming a Connect client earlier this year we knew we’d need to make some changes to our software in order to accommodate.

How we did this

Multilingual meetings are – for anyone watching – complicated. In the case of Carmarthernshire, when a councillor speaks in Welsh it’s translated into English (the Welsh audio is cut and replaced by English translation); for those speaking in English the audio stays the same. This meant running two separate encoders (master and Slave), one for the English part of the webcast (and including the translation) and another to encode the floor audio, basically the audio direct from the chamber with no translation, so a mixture of Welsh and English.

To ensure that all the agenda points and other contextual information falls in the right places, the floor-language encoder (slave) mirrors the English encoder (master). As a consequence, anyone watching the webcast can choose to listen either in Welsh or in English where a choice between languages is available. While we’ve (tried to) explain this as simply as possible, there were obviously plenty of issues to solve.

With this being a new development, and complicated one at that, we decided to run a ‘soft launch’ where we tried out Connect with the dual-language encoders on a Carmarthernshire County Council webcast in May.

While this was a private webcast, we’re glad to report that it went fantastically well. A few days later on the 15th May Carmarthernshire ran its first live public webcast using the new dual-language Connect system. You can see the webcast below.

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