Subtitle Demand Increases Worldwide with Innovative AI Solution
Subtitle demand is on the rise globally, as demonstrated by the BBC’s report on the United Kingdom’s statistics. While subtitles were initially intended for viewers with hearing loss, they are now used by a wide range of people. In fact, around 10% of broadcast viewers and 35% of online content viewers regularly use subtitles. Surprisingly, the majority of these viewers have no hearing impairments.
This trend is not limited to the United Kingdom but is also observed in other countries for television, social media, and other channels that provide video content. Japan, for example, has over 360,000 Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals. Among them, 70,000 use sign language, while the rest rely on written Japanese to access content. Additionally, with nearly 30% of Japan’s population being aged 65 or older, an estimated 14.2 million people in Japan have a hearing disability.
The high cost of equipment and limitations of personnel pose barriers for over 100 local TV channels in Japan to provide subtitles for live programs. Addressing this accessibility need, SI-com and its parent company, ISCEC Japan, have been piloting an innovative and cost-efficient solution since 2018. Their AI-based subtitle system, AI Mimi, combines human input with the power of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Service. This unique hybrid approach ensures accurate and speedy subtitles, even compensating for the shortage of local personnel. AI-Mimi’s success has earned it recognition and a Microsoft AI for Accessibility grant. It has been introduced at Okinawa University as well.
Based on user feedback and extensive testing, SI-com has developed a model that displays over 10 lines of subtitles on the right side of the TV screen. This departure from the common practice of displaying only two lines at the bottom provides users with bigger fonts and better subtitle visibility. In December 2021, SI-com showcased this technology in a live broadcast in partnership with a local TV channel in Nagasaki.
With the increasing demand for subtitles and the need for more accessible and efficient solutions, AI-powered subtitle systems like AI Mimi are revolutionizing the way we create and display subtitles. These innovations not only benefit individuals with hearing impairments but also cater to a wider audience seeking improved accessibility in video content.