YouTube announces new audio features aimed at making videos more accessible

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YouTube made several announcements new audio features on Thursday, some of which are already ready, while others will be launched in the coming months. Starting today, creators have the ability to enable live auto-caption for any live stream in English to make the stream more accessible. This feature was previously only available to creators with more than 1,000 subscribers.

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YouTube plans to expand Live Auto-Caption to all 13 supported captioning languages ​​in the coming months. Supported languages ​​include Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

The company is currently testing the ability to add multiple audio tracks to video to help provide descriptive audio for the visually impaired as well as multi-language audio for international audiences. This feature is currently available to a small group of creators. YouTube plans to roll out the feature more widely in the coming quarters.


YouTube is also rolling out auto-translation for captions in supported languages ​​on Android and iOS later this year. This feature is currently available only on the desktop version of the platform. In addition, the YouTube plan gives users the option to search via transcript on Android and iOS. Later this year, YouTube will test the ability for users to search for specific keywords within transcripts on mobile.

Additionally, YouTube is working on new channel permissions in YouTube Studio, which allow creators to delegate caption and subtitle creation on their videos to someone they trust. The company had earlier announced this feature called ‘Subtitle Editor’ and has admitted that the rollout of the feature is taking longer than expected. YouTube notes that it is actively working on the feature and plans to keep creators updated in the coming months.

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“Improving accessibility is a top priority for YouTube, and we hope these updates will help creators reach a wider audience,” the company said in a community blog post.

YouTube first launched auto-captions in 2010 and has since worked to improve them and make them more widely available. The company introduced auto-caption for YouTube Live in 2018. YouTube is one of many other platforms working to launch more features towards improving captions to make their platform more inclusive and accessible. For example, TikTok added auto-captions to its videos earlier this year, while Instagram added a caption option for Stories around the same time.

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