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    In Collaboration With MESA, SMPTE Brings First-of-a-Kind Language Metadata Table Register Into Its Agile New Public CD Process

    February 9, 2021

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Feb. 9, 2021 —In collaboration with MESA, SMPTE® is bringing the media industry's first human- and machine-readable Language Metadata Table (LMT) into its public review process, an early step toward SMPTE standardization. Published as a SMPTE Public Committee Draft (CD), the vetted and approved list of language codes will be readily available for public comment, implementation, and validation. 

    The LMT register is intended to give media companies, content owners, video service providers, and others a controlled vocabulary and standardized set of codes for accurately and consistently identifying spoken and written language, in turn supporting more efficient interchange of media worldwide. Reflecting many thousands of permutations, LMT codes support numerous applications including audio, written and timed text (closed captions and subtitles), accessibility, licensing, content localization, and international distribution.

    "The Language Metadata Table was started at WarnerMedia in 2017 to normalize language codes within the organization, and IETF BCP 47 was selected due to its flexibility," said Yonah Levenson, LMT chair at MESA, the LMT sponsor. "As interest in LMT as the M&E industry's language code solution increased, SMPTE recognized the value of the LMT and came on board as the technical partner/advisor."

    Work on the LMT register has begun in SMPTE Technology Committees (TCs), which will produce a SMPTE Public CD in the first half of 2021. The Public CD process allows SMPTE to put the LMT register into the public domain quickly and then start the work of gathering feedback and making improvements to both the register and guidelines for its independent management by multiple stakeholders.

    "If you buy and sell media, you understand that a common vocabulary for language tagging is sorely needed," said SMPTE Standards Vice President Bruce Devlin, who worked with MESA to develop the prototype LMT register and online interface currently being reviewed by SMPTE TCs. "The LMT register accounts for all languages as well as dialects and scripts. As we see the register through the Public CD process, our hope is that the LMT register will become a canonical resource that serves the needs of all media organizations and ecosystems. Accessing this data will be as simple as clicking on a link or using an API to grab required codes."

    SMPTE TCs are reviewing the prototype LMT register to determine if the structure of the dictionary is correct and if the process for updating that dictionary is correct. After this step is complete, the dictionary and update process will enter a public review period, during which people and organizations can try out the register and use a dedicated GitHub repository at github.com/smpte to provide real-world feedback that will inform iterative improvement of the register. The Society will leverage the SMPTE Knowledge Network, which is built on a flexible Microsoft Teams environment with integrated apps including the Microsoft 365 suite and GitHub, to bring agility and efficiency to the Public CD process.

    "My hope as the SMPTE standards vice president is that ultimately we will have a structure document in SMPTE that defines the LMT, presents the data itself in both human- and machine-readable form, and provides a new administrative guideline that describes how we'll manage controlled vocabularies and ontologies for third parties. As we undertake the Public CD process for the LMT register, I encourage any organization or individual with a stake in the internationalization of content to join the appropriate SMPTE TC and contribute their requirements and expertise," added Devlin.

    More information about SMPTE, its standards work, and its educational offerings is online at smpte.org.

    Now up to 239 languages, the LMT register can be found at: https://www.mesaonline.org/language-metadata-table.

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    About MESA
    MESA advances new technologies that are enabling the digital transformation of media and entertainment. Focused on three core M&E technologies (data, IT, and security), MESA's 160-plus members and content advisors collaborate to advance change management, new workflow solutions, and production/supply chain efficiencies. MESA's technology communities include: the Hollywood IT Society (HITS, focused on everything M&E IT); Smart Content Council (digital asset management, metadata, data, analytics, and AI); and Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA, supporting cybersecurity and content protection solutions). Further details are available at www.mesaonline.org or by email to LMT@mesaonline.org.

    About SMPTE®
    SMPTE® is the global society of media professionals, technologists, and engineers working in the digital entertainment industry. The Society fosters a diverse and engaged membership from both the technology and creative communities, delivering vast educational offerings, technical conferences and exhibitions, the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, and access to a rich network of colleagues essential to their career success. As an internationally recognized standards organization, SMPTE also provides a vital technical framework of engineering standards and guidelines that allow the seamless creation, management, and delivery of media for art, entertainment, and education worldwide.

    All trademarks appearing herein are the properties of their respective owners.

    Tag(s): Featured , News , metadata

    Frank Kunkle

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