Naver Webtoon develops technology for visually impaired
Naver Webtoon has developed a system to help people with visual impairments experience webtoons through the use of text-to-voice technology, the company said in a webinar held Monday.
A text explanation of the illustrations is created first, and the text is read and spoken by a computer.
The technology starts by distinguishing one scene from another and which text is part of the speech bubble and which is part of background illustrations. For instance, the program tells apart names of stores in the illustration from the text within a speech bubble, even if they’re located closely together.
It then extracts the speech and figures out which order they come in the story in relation to other speech and scenes. Engineers are working on improving the program so that it will be able to figure out which speaker a speech belongs to even if the bubble does not clearly state who it’s from, the company said in a press release.
“We started with the question, would it be technologically possible to provide visual content such as webtoons to people with visual disabilities?” said Yoon Seung-seob, project manager of Naver Webtoon, in a webinar titled “Beyond Now, Access to the New World.”
“With more refinement, the technology can be applied to wider use, such as downloading the texts of a webtoon for translation or using the texts to search for a certain scene of a webtoon via text.”
The service will start early next month in most of the finished and ongoing series available on Naver Webtoon. It will start with Korean works first and later expand to other languages.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]