Google have announced that they are rolling out captions to all videos on Youtube. A little while back they announced a test of captioning for a small number of videos. I guess they’ve ironed out any problems seen during the trial run and they’re now ready to offer across the board. From Google themselves on March 4th 2010:
Today, we are opening up auto-captions to all YouTube users. There will even be a “request processing” button for un-captioned videos that any video owner can click on if they want to speed up the availability of auto-captions. It will take some time to process all the available video, so here are some things to keep in mind:
- While we plan to broaden the feature to include more languages in the months to come, currently, auto-captioning is only for videos where English is spoken.
- Just like any speech recognition application, auto-captions require a clearly spoken audio track. Videos with background noise or a muffled voice can’t be auto-captioned. President Obama’s speech on the recent Chilean Earthquake is a good example of the kind of audio that works for auto-captions.
- Auto-captions aren’t perfect and just like any other transcription, the owner of the video needs to check to make sure they’re accurate. In other cases, the audio file may not be good enough to generate auto-captions. But please be patient — our speech recognition technology gets better every day.
- Auto-captions should be available to everyone who’s interested in using them. We’re also working to provide auto-captions for all past user uploads that fit the above mentioned requirements. If you’re having trouble enabling them for your video, please visit our Help Center: this article is for uploaders and this article is for viewers.
For content owners, the power of auto-captioning is significant. With just a few quick clicks your videos can be accessed by a whole new global audience. And captions can make is easier for users to discover content on YouTube.
Twenty hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Making some of these videos more accessible to people who have hearing disabilities or who speak different languages, not only represents a significant advancement in the democratization of information, it can also help foster greater collaboration and understanding.