Skip to main content

Readability of Punctuation in Automatic Subtitles

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2020)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNISA,volume 12377))


Automatic subtitles are widely used for subtitling television and online videos. Some include punctuation while others do not. Our study with 21 participants watching subtitled videos found that viewers reported that punctuation improves the “readability” experience for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing viewers, regardless of whether it was generated via ASR or humans. Given that automatic subtitles have become widely integrated into online video and television programs, and that nearly 20% of television viewers in US or UK use subtitles, there is evidence that supports punctuation in subtitles has the potential to improve the viewing experience for a significant percentage of the all television viewers, including people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. 1.

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.


  1. Arumi-Ribas, M., Romero-Fresco, P.: A practical proposal for the training of respeakers. JoSTrans: J. Spec. Transl. 10, 106–127 (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Downey, G.: Constructing “computer-compatible” stenographers: the transition to real-time transcription in courtroom reporting. Technol. Cult. 47(1), 1–26 (2006).

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  3. Jordan, A.B., Albright, A., Branner, A., Sullivan, J.: The state of closed captioning services in the United States. Washington, DC (2003).

  4. United Kingdom Ofcom. Television Access Services: Review of the Code and Guidance (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Romero-Fresco, P., Martinez, J.: Accuracy Rate in Live Subtitling – the NER Model (2011).

  6. Stinson, M.S., Elliot, L.B., Kelly, R.R.: Deaf and hard-of-hearing students’ memory of lectures with speech-to-text and interpreting/note taking services. J. Spec. Educ. 43(1), 52–64 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Wald, M.: Using automatic speech recognition to enhance education for all students: turning a vision into reality. In: 2005 Proceedings 35th Annual Conference on Frontiers in Education. FIE 2005, pp. 22–25 (2005).

Download references


We thank the National Science Foundation, grant #1757836 (REU AICT) and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR #90DPCP0002). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this paper do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Raja Kushalnagar .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Datta, P., Jakubowicz, P., Vogler, C., Kushalnagar, R. (2020). Readability of Punctuation in Automatic Subtitles. In: Miesenberger, K., Manduchi, R., Covarrubias Rodriguez, M., Peňáz, P. (eds) Computers Helping People with Special Needs. ICCHP 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12377. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-58804-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-58805-2

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics