YouTube begins experimenting with automatic translation

Image Credit: Szabo Viktor

Captions and titles are beginning to be automatically translated from English as part of testing of a new tool for YouTube videos.

YouTube are experimenting with automatic translation for titles, captions and descriptions, with testing to open up more videos to a global audience. Hopefully the experiments are the start of changes from the often comically unreliable translations in subtitles which are usually the only language option.

Right now the tool doesn’t appear to be part of a wider app update, but only a discreet test. According to Android Police more users are finding themselves browsing English-language YouTube videos which have popped up on the feed in their native language. Translations from English to Turkish and English to Portuguese have been seen so far.

Image Credit: Android Police

YouTube closed captions, video descriptions, and titles have been reported as being automatically translated and the tool has been witnessed in action on desktop, mobile app and on the web. More languages will no doubt become available soon.

Image Credit: Android Police

As it’s an experimental feature the translations are sure to be a little hit and miss. YouTube has access to incredible AI powers and Google Translate to hand, so the question is why better translation options haven’t been rolled out already. With 108 languages on Translate, and YouTube available locally in 100 countries, there’s terrific potential to open up all videos to a global audience, without the restriction of language barriers and shoddy translations. For musicians and producers on Youtube, that’s an entire world of potential new fans.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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