YouTube Auto Captioning: Do you believe in magic?

This week, through teaching a mobile design workshop, I learned that YouTube has added even more transcribing tools, which can and will totally revolutionize the process of closed captioning. Once you find out what YouTube can do with audio transcription, you will first be amazed and then, be using it a lot.

You can watch an example of a narrated screencast I created for our students, which included an uploaded transcript along with the video:

As you can see from watching the video, you can view the captions, which were created by uploading a text file of the transcript. It was quick, easy, and creates an accessible video for just about anyone to view.

Here is what you can do with YouTube Auto Captioning:

Auto Captioning of Videos
You’ve been able to do this for some time, but YouTube has recently made it even easier. All you need to do it upload your video along with a text file of your transcript (Don’t use a Word file, enter your narration in a text file, ending in the extension txt). YouTube will use the Google Voice technology to identify the words you are saying and automatically time stamp the file, creating a captioned file. Once the video is uploaded and processed, it will include captions if you click the little red CC (closed captioning) button.

Translation of Captions
Play a captioned video and you can select from many languages, which will translate your text, modifying the captioning. This would be especially helpful for non-native English language speakers, who would be able to listen to your voice, yet read it in their native tongue.

Transcribing of Audio
Some YouTube videos will also allow auto captioning from the audio, even if they did not originally include a transcription file. If it’s available, you will see the CC red icon.

Machine Transcription
This is one of the newest features and probably one of the most useful and time-saving tools you can use. Say, for instance, you have uploaded a narrated video or slideshow but you never created or saved the transcription. If this service is available on the video you uploaded, you can download the machine transcription, available through the Captions and Subtitles tab of your video.

To improve the accuracy of the captions, you could go through the text and make corrections as needed, then upload the new transcript to your video.

Your new and updated transcript will update the captioning, correcting any errors created by the Audio Transcription feature.

Experiment with YouTube
To get a feel for what YouTube can now do with captioning, go there and view some videos. See if the red CC icon is available and then click it. Try out the “Translate Caption” feature. If you are created a narrated video, try uploading the transcript (remember, use a text file format). And, if you have some videos you did not include a text transcript, download the Machine Translation, edit the text, and upload as a new and improved transcript. Once you do this, you can unselect the Machine Translation feature in your Captions and Subtitles tab.

After you see how powerful this auto captioning feature is in YouTube, you will realize the potential for creating accessible multimedia instructional materials. It keeps getting easier and easier for everyone.


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