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Google introduces automatic captions in YouTube videos

Google has unveiled new technologies that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on its video sharing site YouTube.com. To begin with, the technology will automatically insert captions on videos published by Google and some other videos involving English language speech. The company is also giving users the choice of using its automatic translation system to read the captions in 51 languages, including Hindi.

Google has unveiled new technologies that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on its video sharing site YouTube.com. To begin with, the technology will automatically insert captions on videos published by Google and some other videos involving English language speech. The company is also giving users the choice of using its automatic translation system to read the captions in 51 languages, including Hindi.

The move is expected to broaden the appeal of YouTube videos by making them accessible to deaf and hearing-impaired people, and also to those who do not speak English but could use the automatic captioning and translation technology to read subtitles in their native language. The technology will also make YouTube videos more searchable and enable users to jump to the exact parts of the videos they are looking for.

“Because the tools are not perfect, we want to make sure that we get feedback from the video owners and the viewers before we roll it out for the whole world,” Ken Harrenstien, a deaf software engineer who helped develop the automatic captioning system, has said. “Sometimes the auto-captions are good. Sometimes they are not great, but they are better than nothing if you are hearing-impaired or don’t know the language.”

Google has also introduced a related service to give anyone who uploads an English language video to YouTube the option of uploading as well a text file of the words spoken in the video. Google will turn the text file into captions, automatically matching the spoken words with the files. The technology, which Google calls ‘auto-timing’, will make it easy for anyone to add captions to their videos. [Source: Economic Times]

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