YouTube gets machine-generated automatic captions

Google first announced captions for its Google Video product way back in 2006, and now it is back with a new related announcement: automatic captions have arrived on YouTube. These captions are machine-generated, something made possible in part by YouTube's existing caption system and Google's automatic speech recognition technology. With this feature, a much larger number of videos will gain captions, making them accessible to both the hearing-impaired and those who speak other languages (via machine translation).

Captions are an important part of YouTube's service, enabling those with hearing troubles to enjoy the same videos as everyone else. When captions are added to a video, Google's technology is also able to then automatically translate it into 51 different languages, making them accessible to others who don't speak the language featured in the video.

Adding captions does add extra time to the uploading process, and most uploaders don't take the time to add these captions. As such, while hundreds of thousands of videos now have captions, the vast majority of YouTube's library lacks them. Machine-generated automatic captions will change that.

If you've ever used Google Voice, you'll be familiar with the company's voice recognition-based transcription. Google points out that because the captions are automatic, they will at times be less than accurate, though that accuracy will change in time as improvements to the tech are made. If you do prefer to make your own video captions, though, Google is going to make that easier via auto-timing.

SOURCE: Google Blog