Google has announced that they are adding automatic caption capabilities to YouTube.

Although YouTube users have been able to manually add captions to videos since last year, the feature is not widely used and the majority of the user generated material is still inaccessible to the deaf community. The disconnection and inaccessibility has long frustrated the deaf and hearing impaired.

This announcement is a giant step forward in the long term goals of making videos and any other media universally accessible. Tony Abrahams, CEO of Access Innovation Media, welcomes the new development and shares the same view as  ‘Father of the internet’ and Vice President of Google, Vint Cerf,  that  “the worlds’ information should be accessible to everyone”.

This innovation takes advantage of speech recognition technology to turn the spoken word into text captions. Although the automatic captions can only be generated for videos in English for the moment, YouTube captions can be automatically translated into any of the 51 languages Google supports. This is not only beneficial to the deaf and hearing impaired but also breaks through language barriers.

Link to the YouTube demonstration video here.

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