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RTÉ to act on subtitle complaints

Posted: 12th February 2016 RTÉ to act on subtitle complaints 2016

Tens of thousands of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people around the country are used to frequent problems with subtitling on TV programmes, especially live TV programmes. RTÉ have just announced a new process to accept complaints and feedback about subtitling issues on RTÉ channels and to follow–up directly with individual viewers making complaints. Viewers will be able to contact RTÉ by letter, phone, email or text. It is hoped that this will help improve the subtitling service over time.

In the past viewers could text a number when they were experiencing problems with subtitles, but there was no direct response to the viewer and no way of knowing what the problem was or if it would be rectified. This was very unsatisfactory from the viewers’ perspective, and meant that many people did not bother to make complaints.

With this new process, complaints about subtitles will be logged and responded to individually. This will mean that issues can be analysed and reports can be generated over time to see if the service is improving. It is important to remember that many subtitling problems are not the fault of RTÉ. Sometimes the ‘carrier’, such as Sky TV or Virgin Media may be experiencing technical problems with their set top boxes (STBs), or even extremes of weather may have an impact!

How can I give feedback?

You can give feedback to RTÉ about any of their programmes using the contact details below.




087 798 9128


01 208 3434

Correspondence address

RTÉ Information Office
2nd Floor Administration Building RTE
Dublin 4

The opening hours for receiving telephone calls are 10.00am – 7.00pm Monday-Friday, and 10.00am – 3.00pm on Saturdays. Opening hours on public holidays may vary.

It can be tricky to identify the cause of problems with subtitles. For example, if the subtitles are missing on a programme on RTÉ One, it may not be RTÉ’s fault. It could be a problem with your service provider (e.g. SKY or Virgin Media), your STB, or even extremes of weather! Hopefully the feedback viewers provide RTÉ in the future will identify where the problems are occurng and where improvements need to be made.


Channel: e.g. RTÉ One, RTÉ2, RTÉ +1, RTÉ Jr.

Name of programme:

Date and time:

Area/region the viewer is in

Carrier the viewer was using, e.g. Saorview Box, Virgin Media, Sky etc.


4% of an average TV audience needs subtitles


DeafHear welcomes RTÉ’s initiative and encourages people to provide RTÉ with feedback on its subtitling service, both positive and negative. Many people tell us that subtitles are a godsend for them, enabling them to enjoy television, keep up with the news and gossip, and to help them feel socially included. But it can be very frustrating when the subtitles are missing, especially when they disappear in the middle of a programme! It can also be very frustrating trying to decipher poor quality subtitles on a live TV programme.

“Subtitles are essential for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to enjoy television, and a lot of people are dependent on them” says Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Advocacy. According to recent TAM TV ratings, Irish adults watch an average of 24 hours of television every week, while approximately 4% of any TV audience need subtitles to access the programme content. Over 700,000 people regularly watch the Late Late Show and the Nine O’Clock News on RTÉ One, so 30,000 of them are depending on the subtitles. “That’s a lot of people… and a lot of TV licences!” adds Lennon. Line Break Image

Related to this story…

Subtitles now on the RTÉ Player!
Posted: 26th August 2014

In August 2014 RTÉ announced that subtitles were now available on the RTÉ Player. This is something that DeafHear and other organisations have been seeking for a number of years. [Read On] Subtitles now on the RTÉ Player!

News Subtitles a problem on RTÉ
Posted: 18th October 2013

Recently DeafHear has received numerous complaints about the quality of live subtitling on RTÉ, particularly about RTÉ News which has a large audience. [Read On] RTÉ to act on subtitle complaints 2016

Media Contacts will provide spokespersons to comment on issues relevant to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people on request.

To contact Brendan Lennon; Head of Information and Policy, click here...



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