SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
March 5, 2010

YouTube auto-captions: a work in progress

Posted: 03:27 PM ET

I logged on to YouTube today, eager to test the automatic-captioning feature made available to all users Thursday.

I plugged in my headphones, clicked on the first video I saw - a clip from the Food Network show, “Semi-Homemade Cooking” - and turned on captioning by clicking the "cc" icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Before the captions appeared, a message popped up that read, “Please note: Transcribed Audio is an experimental service that uses Google’s speech recognition technologies to provide automated captions for video.”

Experimental - they weren’t kidding.

“I’m just going to take this and kind of free form it,” host Sandra Lee said as she prodded a loaf of raw meat. However, the caption read, “I’m just going to take that a tax break for it.”

Other mangled captions have appeared on Twitter and on the new Web meme,

In a post on the Official YouTube Blog, a spokesperson acknowledges “auto-captions aren’t perfect,” but asks user to be patient. “Our speech recognition technology gets better every day.”

Here's how it works:

“Auto-captioning combines some of the speech-to-text algorithms found in Google's Voice Search to automatically generate video captions when requested by a viewer … Just like any speech recognition application, auto-captions require a clearly spoken audio track,” the blog states. “Videos with background noise or a muffled voice can't be auto-captioned.” 

A YouTube spokesperson told CNN, “Although auto-captions are imperfect, they’re better than nothing and they will help the deaf community to better understand this wide world of video they previously hadn’t been able to connect with.”

At the moment, auto-captioning only applies to videos in English. In the coming months, YouTube plans to release auto-captioning for many other languages.

Posted by: ,
Filed under: Google • YouTube

Share this on:
Mad Doc   March 8th, 2010 9:52 am ET

At least they are trying to make it work, Dude! I would support it as effective they are. Been using the Youtube for ages and we all suffer from the mouth movement but don't understand what they are saying. As havens above says, "Let there be Light" I say, "Let there be Captions".

Derik   March 8th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

The auto-captioning is a bit dodgy... but it's MUCH easier to let youTube generate and time the captions then fix them manually than it was to write caption files by hand.
I've done it both ways. This is about 5x quicker.

Hayden Suhoski   April 26th, 2010 11:33 pm ET

I love watching videos online specially on Youtube. There are lots of music clips, movie clips and instructional videos on Youtube. I love em all.

Phoebe Clarke   April 29th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

i use Youtube to watch Taylor Swift videos. I always watch movie clips on Youtube. What an awesome site. ~-

Claire Richardson   May 19th, 2010 1:27 am ET

we have an Automotive shop at home because my dad and i loves automobiles. .::

Carpet Extractor   December 4th, 2010 3:21 am ET

i have a passion on anything that is automotive related. i love to attend car shows too :.~

cars blog   July 14th, 2011 3:13 am ET

Real nice pattern and good subject material, absolutely nothing else we require : D. car insurance   August 1st, 2011 6:06 am ET

Back in the day, it may have been cumbersome getting your car insurance because of the trouble you had to go through getting to the insurer’s but not anymore. Things didn't exactly change because of the internet – they got better. Online car insurance has made life that much easier for motorists all over the world.

coupon sites   April 8th, 2012 6:43 am ET

I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They're really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for beginners. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

Dejan   February 23rd, 2016 8:27 am ET

Great article, very informative. Thank you very much.

Leave Your Comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP