YouTube Captions to Use Technology from Google Voice

In a move meant to boost accessibility and search engine relevance, Google has announced an automatic captions service for YouTube videos, using the "automatic speech recognition" (ASR) technology currently used in the transcription feature of Google Voice.

Although YouTube has long offered options for content providers to upload their own captions and subtitles, few have chosen to do so, with just around 100,000 captioned videos available out of hundreds of millions of clips posted on the site.

Although Google admits that the machine-generated captions "will not always be perfect," they see the introduction of the technology as a positive step in providing content to deaf and hearing disabled users. Users of Google Voice have long had mixed results with ASR, even posting the most humorous transcription errors online for others to see. Aware of such "amusing" examples, the Google team is confident that their voice recognition algorithms "will continue to improve with time."

Also announced to coincide with the automatic transcription service is a syncing feature for those who have manually created their own captions. Called "automatic caption timing," the system will allow YouTube users to upload simple text files containing their subtitles that can then be adjusted to fit the pacing of the video online.

The effectiveness of these services, and their reception among the YouTube community, will become more apparent when they are made available "at the end of this week."

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7 Comments

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This whole generation is partially deaf due to have headphones in their ears 24/7. It's a smart move since many will be needing this when they get into their 30s.

As a Deaf YouTube user, I find this very exciting and I look forward to the day when voice to text is perfected.

Big Kudos to Ken Harrenstien, a Deaf Software Engineer at Google!

Thank you very much, Google and Youtube. Your technology should help me as a hearing impaired user very much.

I despise people who don't caption their videos. By not doing it, your only limiting to english speech-able people and there is only like 60% of all population that can read and understand english. but I am grateful that many deaf people has been using it to post funny stories, poems and songs using sign languages.

Please watch some videos of people signing and only that and see if you can understand them. Same way.

Pretty damn clever stuff. It's getting more and more advanced, but still managing to stay relatively simple to the user!