The Washington Post

YouTube expands captioning for six new languages

A visitor is seen at the YouTube stand during the annual MIPCOM television program market in Cannes, southeastern France, Oct. 3, 2011. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

YouTube announced Wednesday that it is expanding support for its automatic captioning service for six European languages.

The company said that its service will now display captions in German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch. That brings the total number of languages up to 10: YouTube already generates automatic captions for English, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

As with the current languages, viewers will be able to see the captions by clicking the “CC” button in the lower right-hand corner of eligible videos.

The company provides the auto-captions as a baseline transcript of what’s going in its videos. However, since speech recognition technology isn’t perfect, it also provides editing tools to improve the quality of the captions on its site.

Content creators can download their automatic captions to edit them or do so right on YouTube videos. They can also upload their own scripts or transcripts to sync with videos on the site.

Those interested in captioning their videos can use free sites and services to generate transcripts. The deaf community advocacy group, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. has a list of resources for people looking for online captioning tools and information.

For those looking for more information on Internet video captioning, the blog Caption Action 2, which is dedicated to getting captions on Internet videos, has gathered links of guidelines and tools to make free or low-cost captions for videos.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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