Over the past few months YouTube has been making major strides towards making content accessible for as many people as possible, putting a lot of effort into new initiatives to get as many of their videos captioned as possible.  Today on their blog, YouTube provides an update on their recent progress with closed captioning.

Software engineer Ken Harrenstien writes on the YouTube blog, “Since we first announced caption support in 2006, YouTube creators have uploaded more than 1.6 million videos with captions, growing steadily each year.  We’ve also enabled automatic captions for 135 million videos, more than tripling the number of captioned videos available since July 2011.”  Pretty impressive, eh?

So what have they been up to over the past few months?  YouTube has rolled out a variety of new tools and features for YouTube viewers, as well as for YouTube creators.  Read on to learn more.

Captioning changes for YouTube viewers

More languages

Automatic captioning and transcript synchronization is now available not only in English but also in Japanese and Korean.  Captions and subtitles can also now be added by video owners in 155 supported languages and dialects.  Additionally, in Movies and Shows, viewers can now see a quick list of which languages subtitles are available in before they decide to rent.

New captions search filter

YouTube has also added a search filter that allows you narrow down a search to only videos with captions.  Just click Filter > CC.

Change the look of captions

Don’t like the way the captions look on screen?  Click the ‘CC’ icon on the video player and you can change the caption settings, including font size and colors.  Harrenstien writes, “we’re planning to make this available on other platforms and add more options soon.”

Broadcast caption support

When channel owners provide video caption files in broadcast format, YouTube displays them like you would see on television.  Text can appear in different areas of the screen depending upon where the person talking is standing.  Click here for an example.

Captioning changes for YouTube creators

More formats

YouTube now supports a wider variety of common broadcast caption formats including .SCC, .CAP, EBU-STL and more.  Harrenstien adds, “If you have closed captions that you created for TV or DVDs, we’ll hander this conversion for you.”

MPEG-2 caption import

If you’ve got an MPEG-2 file that contains closed captions with CEA-608 encoding, YouTube will import those captions right along with the video and create the captions for you automatically.

It is clear from these awesome upgrades that YouTube is taking major strides towards making their content available to everyone.  Do you have closed captions on your YouTube videos?  If not, do you plan to?

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.