Beyond Subtitles

Captioning and Visualizing Non-Speech Sounds in User Generated Videos.

Oliver Alonzo, Rochester Institute of Technology
Hijung Valentina Shin, Adobe Research
Dingzeyu Li, Adobe Research


Captioning provides access to sounds in audio-visual content for people who are Deaf or Hard-of-hearing (DHH). As user-generated content in online videos grows in prevalence, researchers have explored using automatic speech recognition (ASR) to automate captioning. However, definitions of captions (as compared to subtitles) include non-speech sounds, which ASR typically does not capture as it focuses on speech. Thus, we explore DHH viewers’ and hearing video creators’ perspectives on captioning non-speech sounds in user-generated online videos using text or graphics. Formative interviews with 11 DHH participants informed the design and implementation of a prototype interface for authoring text-based and graphic captions using automatic sound event detection, which was then evaluated with 10 hearing video creators. Our findings include identifying DHH viewers’ interests in having important non-speech sounds included in captions, as well as various criteria for sound selection and the appropriateness of text-based versus graphic captions of non-speech sounds. Our findings also include hearing creators’ requirements for automatic tools to assist them in captioning non-speech sounds.


Screenshot of our prototype for the project
Screenshot of the prototype we built for captioning and visualizing non-speech sounds.


    author = {Alonzo, Oliver and Shin, Hijung Valentina and Li, Dingzeyu},
    title = {Beyond Subtitles: Captioning and Visualizing Non-speech Sounds to Improve Accessibility of User-Generated Videos},
    year = {2022},
    publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
    address = {New York, NY, USA},
    doi = {10.1145/3517428.3544808},
    booktitle = {The 24th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility},
    numpages = {11},
    location = {Greece, Athens},
    series = {ASSETS '22},