Netflix is expanding its accessibility features to support more global languages. Its Audio Descriptions (AD) for vision-impaired and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH) will be available in ten additional languages starting this month. The company will also dub its entire library of original content into more languages, so people from various parts of the world can enjoy them. Netflix announced the plans on Thursday, May 19th, which happened to be the Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
According to the company, its accessibility features will be available in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, French, and more over the next few months. It hopes to complete the rollout in early 2023. Netflix also plans to add more Asia-Pacific and local European languages in the future. All users globally will be able to access the new languages for AD, SDH, and dubbing, though only with original Netflix content.
The latest expansion will increase SDH and AD language availability on Netflix to over 20 languages. To make it easier for users, the company will show badges on shows and films that have AD and SDH. But this feature will only be available on the Web and the iOS app.
“With over 1 billion people living with disabilities globally, the opportunity to tell more inclusive stories and bond within our communities over storytelling is tremendous,” wrote Netflix’s Director of Product Accessibility Heather Dowdy in a blog post. “We hope to give all of our members the ability to see their lives reflected on screen, no matter where you’re from, what language you speak, or what abilities you have.”
Netflix says it will also be hosting Accessibility Screenings in select countries globally in the coming months. These screenings will highlight the company’s AD and SDH features and also “discuss ways to make entertainment more accessible.”
Netflix makes its content more accessible with additional languages
People with hearing or vision disabilities need assistive technologies like subtitles or audio descriptions for watching a show or film. Unfortunately, these accessibility features are often limited to a few languages. Netflix wants to change that. The company has been offering closed captioning and audio descriptions for some time now. But it is now expanding the features to more languages.
Various advocacy groups around the world are pushing streaming services to include more accessibility features on their platforms. We hope other big names in this space will also follow Netflix to make streaming more accessible. We will keep you posted with all the latest developments on this matter.