The automatic captions will be added for videos through the combination of Google’s automatic speech recognition technology with the YouTube caption system.
In addition to automatic captions, Google said it is adding another feature called “auto-timing,” which enables YouTube users to create a simple text file with all the words in a video, leaving Google technology to figure out when the words are spoken and create corresponding captions.
Both features will be available in English by very soon with automatic captions initially visible only on a handful of YouTube’s partner channel, Google said.
“We hope to expand these features for other channels and languages in the future,” Ken Harrenstien, a deaf Google software engineer, wrote in a posting on the company’s blog.
Captions in videos not only help the deaf and hard of hearing, but can also improve search and even enable users to jump to the exact parts of the videos they’re looking for, Harrenstien noted.