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Automatic Captions on YouTube Turn One Today! Happy Birthday

Today, marks the one year of “automatic captions” launch on YouTube.

Here’s the quick summary of past one year:


  • People have watched video with automatic captions more than 23 million times, and have automatically translated captions more than 7.6 million times.
  • The number of manually-created caption tracks has more than tripled thanks largely to automatic caption timing technology.
  • Just recently, we’ve reduced the error rate in our speech recognition algorithms by 20%

“When it comes to captions, we care not just about quantity, but also quality. Also, YouTube has been learning many new words! For e.g., we now recognize the word “smartphone” (turn on speech recognition to see).

In the past few weeks, we’ve rolled out a significant improvements to our speech recognition technology to improve the accuracy of automatic captions. YouTube’s new speech recognition model reduces the overall word error rate by about 20%. Although the improvements vary from video to video, a video that had identified 50% of the words correctly before will now recognize about 60% of the words, and a video that was at 75% before will now correctly identify about 80% of the words. We continue to make improvements and there is much more on the way,” Google said.


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