YouTube auto-captioning for video

Several people have asked in the past about transcriptions/closed-captioning for video. It’s a pain in the butt, but YouTube has just rolled out a promising new time-saving feature called auto-captioning.

Like any machine-generated transcription, some words get garbled. But if you have a video that has good audio from an interview (external mics!), and there’s not a lot of background noise, it’s useful. You can also use it on videos that have already been uploaded to the service. In your account, under “Captions and Subtitles” download the
English machine transcription file (it will be named “captions.sbv”) and you can edit the transcript in a text editor like TextWrangler, then upload the file back up to YouTube.

You can see the results in this video:

I spent 10 minutes total figuring out how it worked, tweaking the .sbv file, and reuploading.

Pretty neat, I think

Here’s a deeper explanation in a TechCrunch story about some of the limitations.