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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

YouTube Automatic Captions: Not Even Close

Have you ever noticed that little "CC" icon that's part of the player on some YouTube videos? Well, YouTube users can create and upload caption files that can be displayed along with their videos, of if they want to put the fate of their deaf audience into clumsy hands, YouTube will automatically transcribe the audio of your video for you, and let me tell you, it is very clear that it is still in beta.

I was watching a video that my cousin Kjetil (juh-tee-uhl) made, and I noticed the closed captioning button. I had seen it before, but never really noticed it or tried it out extensively. So, I clicked it, and saw Transcribe Audio. Kjetil speaks pretty eloquently in the video, so I figured this would be a challenge for YouTube's experimental feature, and hoh-boy was I correct. Here's a breakdown of the highlights:

"Please note: Transcribe Audio is an experimental service that will make the deaf think you're a foreigner using a French to Chinese translator, then Chinese-German, then German-Spanish, then Spanish-English."

Speech: "I was in the midst of writing my next greatest poem entitled "Salute to the Summer Morning."
Caption: I was in Israel and its greatest and kind of speeches.

S: "How does one man think of such well-crafted strings of words, plucked like the chords of a varied 13th century troubadour's lute?"
C: comes one day and I think that's so well crafted street words on court their activities to the commitment

S: "Could it be? Could the great poet Kjetil Rossignol's poems all have been plagiarized?"
C: det could the greek politics he lost homes monthly jobs

S: "The last original poem was written in 1703, by English writer Francis Beaumont, read here."
C: the last original home was burned and seventy nineth street but analysts writer trustees

S: "How now, O lord, Thine grace be thine horse. My soul be thine goblet and mine essence thy wine. Whereforth I may travel, thy thenceforth henceforth Wadsworth be my worth."
C: terminal or die and grace be doing us my soul the senate bill Clinton since that where fourth time they travel night therefore its fourth also was be her

S: "super poet"
C: silver politics

S: "...that a young disabled boy named Dennis single-handedly revived poetry at an event called 'The Special Poetry Slam.' "
C: and it's even going dennis single-handedly five quarts that of the special voters.


I think the automatic captions are trying to subliminally sway us to support the Democratic party, with all the mentions of politics and voting and "bill Clinton." The only thing they sway me to do is use the captions strictly as a comedic outlet. They read like the transcript of a drunk man testifying in court.

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