YouTube allows fans to contribute video captions

Friday, 20 November 2015 16:06pm

In a recent update, YouTube will allow community members to contribute closed captions to supported videos, opening up the potential for the world’s largest online video platform to be more accessible for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

YouTube logo alongside the Closed Captioning (CC) logo

YouTube Help has released two videos outlining the new features available for channel owners to manage community-contributed closed captions (CC) and subtitles, as well as instructions for fans to contribute video captions themselves.

Originally only available to video owners via YouTube’s ‘Video Manager’ section, the community captioning feature is a welcome addition for DIY accessibility enthusiasts, as fans wanting to add captions to YouTube videos could only do so previously using a third-party tool such as Amara.

Channel managers can ‘opt-in’ to allow fan-created captions on their videos by pressing the ‘Creator Studio’ button, expanding the “Community” menu and selecting “Manage subtitles and CC” from the list, followed by setting the default captioning language on all videos. However, individual videos can also be blocked from having community captions applied if the creator chooses to do so.

Media Access Australia CEO, Alex Varley, sees this is a step forward in improving both the levels and quality of YouTube captions.

“Will this be the end of the awful auto-captions on YouTube? I doubt it,” said Varley.

“However, making it easier for people to add captions should see a lot more material being captioned, especially non-commercial material. It will also allow multiple people to check captions which should help improve the quality.”

The accuracy of fan-created captions can be reviewed after submission, which after approval by the community will be automatically available for the general public to use.

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