YouTube rolls out auto-captions for six European languages

Now people who speak German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Dutch can watch videos with automated captions.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
"Completo, ilha das flores," with closed automatic captioning in Portuguese. Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

YouTube added six more languages to its closed caption feature today, allowing users to read a video's audio in German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Dutch.

Viewers just turn on the closed captioning by clicking on the "CC" button in the toolbar during the video. YouTube is also testing a translate feature, available in beta, that translates the caption into another language.

In addition to the automatic captioning, video creators will have editing tools to improve the automated captions since there will undoubtedly be errors in the initial text, according to YouTube. These tools include the ability to download captions for editing, or editing them in-line on YouTube. Users can also upload plain-text transcripts to generate captions, software engineer Hoang Nguyen wrote on the site's blog.

"Captions are important to make sure everyone--including deaf, hard-of-hearing, and viewers who speak other languages--can enjoy videos on YouTube," he wrote.

YouTube starting incorporating the closed caption feature in 2009, when it introduced automated captions in English. Captioning in Japanese, Korea,n and Spanish followed. There are now approximately 200 million videos with automatic and human-created captions on YouTube, according to the post.