YouTube now autotranslates subtitled vids

Google's video-sharing site makes closed captions in other languages a little more useful with drop-down menu support for on-the-fly translation using Google Translate.

Over the weekend, YouTube introduced a new feature to help make captioned or subtitled videos more accessible to international users. The new system uses machine translation to convert any of these videos into your language of choice in real time.

To access this feature, users simply need to turn it on from the lower-right corner of the player. From there, they can use a simple drop-down menu to pick which language into which they want the video translated. Unfortunately, YouTube won't remember a user's translation choices from one video to the next, but this seems like a feature that could be added down the line.

Set what language you want subtitled videos to play in with YouTube's new on-the-fly translate service. CNET Networks

What's impressive is how many languages the new system supports. It's using the same translation tools from Google Translate, so you've got 36 different languages from which to choose. Of course, all of this relies on the video source having captions in the first place; an overwhelming majority don't.

My dream, albeit just a dream, is to have YouTube use speech-to-text conversion on all its videos to make this an automatic process, since creating properly timed subtitles for long-form videos is a pain.

To give it a spin, try it on this video where you can see Robocop play Shogi (Japanese chess) with lasers.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.


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