YouTube – New Captioning Features

Recently YouTube went a step ahead in accessibility support to implement new captioning features as discussed in their recent blogpost, “Captions for all: more options for your viewing and reading pleasure.”

Those useful features include:

  • More languages (they added support for Japanese and Korean);
  • Search for videos with captions (you can filter by typing “movies, cc” in a search box on their website);
  • Caption settings (you can change the way you want captions to look on your device);
  • Broadcast caption support (you can see a bradcast video file with captions like you see on TV);
  • Caption import for mpeg-2 video files (you can see an original video from DVD or VHS with original captions).

The last feature is especially important because there still seems to be a small number of iTunes movies that is “barely growing” and because many of Netflix streaming movies are still not captioned. Phlixie tracks the number of captioned movies by filtering them from Netflix and iTunes websites.

One big drawback is that Apple seems not to support captions for YouTube videos on their portable devices like iPhones and iPads which is important because more people are using those devices than computers to view videos.

Another issue is the accessibility vs. copyright which means that you cannot caption someone’s video without their permission. More of this is discussed on the Google Forum thread, “Youtube: let video uploaders allow users to download automatic captions?”

Meanwhile, big kudos to Google/YouTube for their efforts!