YouTube Launches Auto-Captions In Spanish

Google’s YouTube is slowly but surely expanding its line-up of supported languages for its auto-caption feature. Starting today, videos in Spanish will feature these automatically generated closed captions based on Google’s voice recognition technology. Until now, this feature was only available for videos in English, Japanese and Korean. In total, says Google, about 157 million videos on YouTube new feature auto-captions.

Even though Google has greatly improved its voice recognition capabilities over the last few years (starting with its now discontinued Google 411 experiment in 2007), it’s obviously not perfect and regularly gets things wrong. Overall, though, it works surprisingly well, especially considering the large number of accents it has to handle in all of these languages. Google is rolling this new feature out gradually, so most videos in Spanish don’t feature closed captions just yet.

Here is an example of what auto-captions in Spanish look like on YouTube:


One feature Google stressed in its announcement today is YouTube’s ability to combine auto-captions with automatic translations. Thanks to this, the company says, YouTube can now generate subtitles in more than 50 languages.

It’s worth noting, too, that earlier this week, Google also launched a localized version of YouTube for Indonesia. This marked the launch of YouTube’s 46th country-specific edition.