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Youtube Adds Automatic Caption For Deaf Audience

In a move that could help deaf users of the internet community to enjoy watching videos on the world’s most popular video sharing site YouTube, its parent company Google has announced that it would soon begin to roll out an automatic caption across the website.

Although the captioning feature isn’t new for the website as Google had apparently introduced manual user-generated captioning around three years back, but this time the tech giant would apparently make use of its Google Voice technology to upload videos with electronically generated captions.

Initially, these automatic captions will be available in English only, and they’ll only be available with the company’s 13 partner channels, including Columbia and National Geographic, but gradually it is expected to be accessible in any of the 51 languages.

The software engineer behind this extremely useful technology, Ken Harrenstien, who is deaf, has hailed the new feature for helping hearing-impaired, and citing the same, he quoted in a blog post: "The majority of user-generated video content online is still inaccessible to people like me".

However, the translation technology still reportedly caries some flaws, but it "will continue to improve with time", Harrenstien added.

In addition to these automatic captions, Google has further taken the hassles out of manual captioning by launching an ‘auto-timing’ tool, which just requires users to create a text file containing all the words used in the video and Google’s ASR would subsequently convert those words into on-screen captions.

Our Comments

Very impressive and useful addition to Google. Adding captions to a video automatically will not only save time but also money by making dramatically slashing the time necessary to process videos. Like its automatic translation, this Google service is just good enough for everyday work.

Related Links

YouTube launches auto-caption feature for deaf viewers

(The Tech Herald)

Google Adds Captions to YouTube Search

(PC World)

YouTube introduces automatic captions for deaf viewers


YouTube automatic captioning: one more reason GOOG's not evil


YouTube turning on automatic captions


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.