Subtitling, Events

Subtitling and accesibility: exploring innovation and best practices

Charlotte Coppejans
January 25, 2022

Those of us working in the field of accessibility were eagerly awaiting the second, online edition of the OPEN Forum, which took place on February 10th, 2022 and which Limecraft was proud to sponsor. The theme of this year’s event was “Innovation for Access: Best practices” and the Forum brought together cultural and media organisations, user organisations, access professionals, artists, research groups and companies active in the media and cultural landscape to discuss the latest innovative projects and best practices.

Human rights developments, new legislation and cutting-edge technology have all driven the exponential growth of accessibility of culture and media over the past decade. Events like the OPEN Forum are therefore a crucial opportunity for the sharing of knowledge and continued close collaboration between content creators, artists, users, tech companies as well as access professionals.

Automation in Subtitling

Limecraft CEO Maarten Verwaest talked about lessons learned from successful deployments of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in subtitling, and shared his views on what works and what doesn’t work.


In a globalising world where producers fight for relevance by producing content in higher quality and by making that more accessible, subtitles are an essential part of the user experience and a key success factor to ensure maximum reach. Limecraft strives to automate the grunt work, giving back time for creative storytelling.

Computer Assisted Subtitling came a long way, starting 10 years ago with the increasing accuracy of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), adding automatic spotting and configurable spotting rules in 2015 and, more recently, capitalising on the research conducted in the MeMAD project (2018-2022). Furthermore, some of the key concepts where recently perfected for ITV, as recently published in a case study.

Key takeaways

  • Repeated error correction is a showstopper. When using ASR, Word Error Rates must be lower than 2%. Therefore, relentlessly look for the best, not the cheapest. Look for autonomous training and custom dictionaries.
  • Usability is key – there is no one size fits all UI. Look for solutions that can be easily customised to fit your specific workflow requirements.
  • Fine-tuning is a step-by-step and iterative process. Look for configurable spotting rules.

About OPEN

OPEN is the Expertise Centre for Accessible Media and Culture of the University of Antwerp. They are committed to the development of high-quality, user-friendly and accessible media and cultural services, including subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, live subtitles, sign languages, audio description and audio subtitles.

Read more about the online conference here.