YouTube news: New Captions Feature For Videos

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This is really good news.  VideoJug.com was, as far as I know, one of the first to implement the idea of transcriptions next to videos for the deaf and the blind (via screen readers) and now YouTube takes this a step further.  The technology already exists for some time, but so far not many channels or networks bothered with it. The fact that YouTube offers this option now, together with translation options in the form of subtitles is a giant leap forward as YouTube is the most important video network at this time.

For video producers this will mean some extra work as it becomes kind of difficult to ignore the plead for more accessibility by  the disabled community. That is a good thing and I would like to elaborate on this a bit more after you’ve read the original article because this could have some very positive consequences.
Below you find an excerpt and the link to the original news item from the YouTube team:

New Captions Feature For Videos

Here at YouTube, we’re always trying to find new ways to enrich your viewing experience and to help video creators reach a wider audience. As part of this goal, we’ve added a new captioning feature which allows you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Captions can help people who would not otherwise understand the audio track to follow along, especially those who speak other languages or who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Read further on the originating site >>

Possible consequences

Now, imagine that it becomes law to provide transcriptions in this way?  What would stop us, since there is no technological barrier anymore?
The immediate result will be that the disabled community can follow every single video published on any network.  That is good news.
Secondary, people who create junk videos, there are tons of junk videos around, might perhaps think twice about uploading junk as it does take more time. A good example is Brightcove where you have a fair piece of work to do before you get your video online.  It is clear that Brightcove isn’t plagued by vast amounts of irrelevant- and duplicate videos as YouTube is.  Perhaps this is the answer to YouTube’s problems with content overload.
Because there is so much duplicate content from badly recorded TV shows, music clips and so on, YouTube is forced to compress videos even harder to compensate the bandwidth usage, which is a real killer.
Making it a bit more work to upload videos will self-regulate a lot of junk out of the window and YouTube can stay true to its credo not to judge the content.

Perhaps I’m a bit naive in this, but at least, the potential is there 🙂

Multilingual Subtitles

I’m not sure I like the idea of multilingual subtitles because of the negative effect it can have.  I realize we will have to start using them at some point, but I have a reason to dread this.  There was a time when most computer software was only available in English.  I think it has helped a lot of us to connect with each other worldwide because English became what Latin is for doctors, a worldwide computer language everyone involved understood.
The internet accelerated this process immensely and as a result, most of us on the internet understand each other, which is really great.  Multilingual subtitles might delude this effect again. However, it is probably inevitable since I cannot deny that many people have problems with English.

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