Global distribution requirements have exposed the need to consistently present languages for audio, text on the screen (closed captioning, subtitles, simplified descriptions for accessibility), packaging and display, and online user interfaces. To solve these problems, a standardized table of language metadata codes for use across the broadcast and media industries has been published and is available for all.
Conceived at HBO by Yonah Levenson, manager of metadata and taxonomy, and Laura Dawson, metadata analyst, the Language Metadata Table (LMT) unites the media and entertainment industry with a single, open-source table of language metadata codes. LMT 2.0 was released on July 25 at the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance’s (MESA) Smart Content Summit East event.
The LMT is an expandable mapping resource that organizes, adheres to, and complies with IETF BCP 47 (Internet Engineering Task Force Best Common Practice 47), which includes ISO 639’s Language Codes and UN M49 Standard country or area codes. (IETF BCP 47 is frequently referred to as RFC 5646.)
LMT’s mission is to create a standardized table of pre-combined language codes for implementation by entertainment and other industries using IETF BCP 47, and facilitate efficient and consistent LMT usage through industry consensus and best practices.
LMT code values are developed and extended through vetted field definitions and approved language code values with a community of thought leaders who focus on information and data from broadcaster, distributors, professional associations and other stakeholders through the exchange of knowledge and collaboration.
MESA supports the LMT Working Group as one of its communities of practice.
The LMT was initially launched in July 2018 with approximately 140 languages and now contains more than 200. Over the past 12 months, Levenson and Dawson, the LMT co-chairs, have led meetings of the LMT Working Group to make sure the LMT meets the needs of others in the media and broadcast world, and LMT 2.0 now includes nearly 200 languages. The LMT working group’s members include representation from HBO, Turner, Warner Bros, Disney, WWE, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Showtime, Lionsgate, Fox, EIDR, MovieLabs and others.