YouTube Launches Auto-Captioning & Translation For Japanese Videos

Now, anyone viewing a video with a clear Japanese soundtrack will be able to create auto-captions in Japanese and translate them into more than 50 different languages.

In March of 2010, YouTube launched English-language auto-captioning.  Since the launch, viewers have used the service to generate auto-captions on nearly 40 million videos.  This week, YouTube announced that they are expanding the auto-captioning feature, rolling it out a whole new language—Japanese.  Now, anyone viewing a video with a clear Japanese soundtrack will be able to create auto-captions in Japanese and translate them into more than 50 different languages.

How does it work?  According to Brad Ellis, product manager at YouTube, “Now on any video with a clear Japanese speech track, a red ‘CC’ button will appear at the bottom of the player, where you can click it to generate automatic captions from the speech.”  Click on the ‘CC’ button and choose ‘Transcribe Audio’ to generate the Japanese captions.  Then, click the ‘CC’ button again and choose ‘Translate Captions’ to translate the Japanese into your native language.  Try it out in the video embedded below.

This is an incredibly exciting announcement.  YouTube is taking the way we communicate to a whole new level.  Days ago, we could watch videos in Japanese and have no idea what they were talking about.  Today, in a few simple clicks, we can translate and watch videos from halfway around the globe.

The English auto-captioning was great for the hard of hearing, as well as for those with English as a second language.  Now, auto-captioning is proving itself as a great tool for communicating with and understanding different cultures around the globe.  I look forward to a day when this service is available to virtually every language.

What do you think about this announcement?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.