Friday, March 12, 2010

Hooray for Big Step by YouTube

This isn't about TV captioning for a change. This has to do primarily with captioning on the web and YouTube.

YouTube is taking a big step forward and working to make new material captioned using voice recognition type software. More on this can be found on YouTube. This will be far from perfect for a long time to come, but in most of cases it can be a lot better than nothing. Accuracy depends on the quality of the soundtrack. How clear are the voices? How much background noise is there? Is there any distortion? Then there are some language problems inevitable. Someone mentioned in a comment that they had seen the word "mistakes" come out captioned as "Mexican steaks" on a video.

Still, this is a dramatic step in the right direction.

At the very least, YouTube recognizes that captioning is a valuable service and that there is a significant portion of the population that this will impact.

And on a sort of related note, I've been informed that captions a lot of the episodes of television programs, like "Burn Notice", that were not captioned on Comcast OnDemand. And Comcast does not caption any of its programming on its material available for viewing on the web. It views captioning as a nice "idea" that it will keep in mind for the future. That is from the Caption 2 Action blog, "Does Comcast Even Care About the Deaf?"