Google introduced captions, in English only, to it's videos back in 2009. The feature is automatic and uses speech recognition to render the text -- a method that wasn't always very smooth in the early days. But, if you have used Android recently then you have probably noticed that Google's speech-to-text technology has become pretty solid now. With that in mind, the company's YouTube property has announced the addition of six new languages to the captions feature.
As the caption service improved, YouTube added Japanese, Korean and Spanish, but today it announced the addition of German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Dutch.
"Now in 10 languages, automatic captions are an important first step in the path toward high-quality captions for the 72 hours of video people upload per minute."
While these may be thought of as predominantly European, many of these languages are spoken in far-flung locations around the world. The addition of Portuguese itself opens up the service to a large Brazilian population.
If you haven't used close-captioning on YouTube then you can access it quite easily. When a video begins playing, simply click the "CC" button that appears in the bottom menu of the video panel.
For content creators who want to make sure that YouTube gets every word right, transcripts of the dialogue can be uploaded along with the video and, again, all currently supported languages can be used. Given that automatic translations has been improved greatly, but still is far from perfect, that can be a key feature for important videos.
Given the Google speech-to-text improvements and the company's great Google Translate feature which works on every browser, in addition to being a built-in feature in Chrome, the company has begun the task of handling real-time translations of these captions as well. You will find that feature in beta on the "CC" button also.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.