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YouTube’s Added Value

13 May 2009

I’ve been using YouTube quite a bit lately to host shareable videos. It’s so easy, a child can use it (and clearly they do, for better or worse). But it’s also maturing into what could become an enterprise-level tool that is a lot more meaningful than videos of kittens falling asleep.

It’s important to me to ensure that as much video as possible is captioned. We’ve captioned many of our YouTube videos already, and we’re hard at work captioning more. The goal is that all of the videos we publish will be closed captioned. Why is this important? Well, certainly for accessibility. Someone who can’t hear the audio track of a video needs to know what’s being said. But also, people in offices who don’t turn up their volume, people in noisy places who can’t quite make out what’s being said through their speakers — they too can use closed captions to ‘hear’ what’s going on.

That’s enough reason for me. But it wasn’t enough for Google. They’ve added the killer-app feature that makes it critical for all thinking people to add captions to their videos — SUBTITLES. That’s right, if you caption your video, the user viewing it has the option to translate those captions into any of approximately 40 different languages. (The thumbnails below will link you to screen shots of just how it works on the user end.)

First there was YouTube EDU, and now captioned *and* subtitled videos — a suite of remarkable tools rising from a pool of skateboarding dogs and angsty teens.

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