Video Captioning as an Integral Element of Media Sharing

Video Captioning as an Integral Element of Media Sharing

By Anne Stephanie Cruz

The internet is a very big bubble of information, which has become accessible for a large number of people. The growth of the internet has been described as exponential, growing at a rate which becomes faster and faster every single day. It has been fueled by both technology and users. Although it started as a technical platform for scientific purposes, the internet has seen the most growth due to non-technical users, students, retirees, housewives, and ordinary people.

In recent years there has been a universal push for accessibility. Whereas accessibility is usually seen as allowing for access to this service by people in even the most remote places, there have been initiatives to bring it closer to even those who normally would not be able to use it. This segment of the population has included those living in the rural areas, the elderly, the poor, and people with disabilities – the deaf most especially.

There has been a confluence of technologies which has lead to more of these disadvantaged persons to be able to use the internet. One of the most important accessibility initiatives has been that of YouTube’s auto-captioning. Simply put, YouTube creates close captioning or sub-titles into videos uploaded to the site. This is seen as a big help and an important development in allowing for deaf persons to watch YouTube videos.

The technology is not fool-proof. Since it is an automated process, the user and video uploader still has to check for the quality of the captions. However, for a lot of deaf people, it has enabled them to use YouTube like any person without hearing challenges.

Among other things, this development makes for a compelling case for deaf people using the internet. Of course, there are problems with the implementation. The video’s soundtrack has to be almost impeccable. The speaker should be clear in pronouncing words, meaning that the words should not be muffled. There should be almost no background noise, and it is best if the video is in English. The service is based on a developing technology, hence it is expected to become better in the coming years.

Developments and initiatives such as these are most welcome. As a basic service, anyone who can use a computer has unlimited possibilities with the internet. It is a tool for research and communication. Being online has also become a way to earn a decent living. Although the deaf can use go online without any problem, videos and other multimedia have become a big hump on the road to further use. Without sub-titles, the deaf would not be able to understand various media which has been uploaded for sharing. This becomes even more relevant considering that video and music are growth areas in terms of internet content.

YouTube is not the only online video sharing service. Other services are not expected to have their own captioning service. It should be up to the video uploader and media owner to caption their own videos. This would make sure that the captioning is correct. This would be most helpful for foreign language videos. In which case, the captions can be in the native language as well as in english.

There is a long way to go to make all media accessible to everyone. But for a media developer, captioning would help a lot in bringing in more viewers, subscribers and website visitors.


About The Author

Anne Stephanie Cruz is a professional copywriter and digital content editor.  She contributes articles to various publications and writes for Lifetickler.  She has been in the industry for more than 15 years.