YouTube Adds Spanish Automatic Close Captions

Making tens of millions of videos available to millions more people

By on June 15th, 2012 19:00 GMT

YouTube is doing some pretty big things but most if not all of them are focused on the US market. Sure, the site has been introducing translated versions on a regular basis which come with content catered to that country, but there's still a big difference between English content and everything else.

The site is making an effort to catch up, at least in some aspects, it's now introducing automatic close-captions for Spanish.

"Today, we’re expanding our language accessibility to add automatic captions in Spanish," YouTube announced.

"When a video has recognizable speech, you’ll see a 'CC' button appear in the bottom of the player, which will instantly add captions of the video in Spanish. Just look for this icon and click 'Transcribe Audio'," it said.

The site has been offering the feature in English but also in Japanese and Korean. It's not perfect by any means, but it's still a big step forward.

The vast majority of content on YouTube is not accessible to those with hearing problems. Everything that Google uploads has a captions track and some of the educational videos too, but that's still a small fraction of what's on the site.

With automatic close captions, a huge amount of videos can now be enjoyed by millions more people.

The feature is available for some 157 million videos and more are added. That's a small portion of the billions of videos on YouTube but it's still 157 million videos, more than anyone can watch in a lifetime.

The interesting part is that you can use the auto-captions feature, for the languages that are supported, and then have the transcription translated into the more than 50 languages Google Translate supports. Again, neither automatic transcriptions nor machine translations are perfect, but things are improving.

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