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Bilibili Introduced ‘Barrier-free’ Streaming for Hearing-impaired Audiences

By Isabella Jiangcheng
Oct. 13, 2021 updated 01:48

Bilibili, the Chinese streaming platform, introduced accessibility options for the hearing-impaired audiences at the 2021 League of Legends World Champions (“S11”) live stream. This is the first specialized ‘barrier-free' option for esports streaming.

 In the barrier-free streaming channel, Bilibili teamed up with Chinese AI giant iFlytek to introduce real-time AI speech recognition for commentary subtitles. Bilibili also collaborated with professional interpreters to provide sign language interpretation for game results and post-match interviews. Before each game starts, a professional interpreter will also provide interactive classes on how to demonstrate gaming strategies in sign language, to further enhance the viewing experience.

Apart from the streaming enhancement, Bilibili also organized a series of online activities during the gaming season. Income from these activities will be donated to the China Foundation for Disabled Persons to help to make more content available for the disabled community.

 This warm gesture is welcomed by Chinese players. Many believe that the barrier-free stream marks the crucial point of giving everyone an equal opportunity for gaming. Fly chats that wrote ‘Thank you for your hard work’ filled the screen. One user shared her experience of encountering a group of speaking and hearing-impaired gamers at the local internet café, highlighting that disabled gamers should also be recognized. In 2017, the Beijing Society of Audiology estimated that the size of the hearing-impaired population is about 72 million in China, and the number continues to grow.

A player shares his experience seeing hearing-impaired LOL players in net cafes and communicate with body language.