As one of the most popular websites in the world, YouTube has added many features for accessibility to its users. The support for closed captioning is one feature that many online video content producers are taking advantage of.
The key for TV broadcasters is to preserve the positioning and formatting of TV closed caption data when broadcasting on YouTube.
CC File Formats supported by YouTube
Originally, YouTube supported basic closed caption file formats such as .SRT. These files were very simple and only supported timing and line breaks. Today, YouTube supports a variety of CC file formats that have advanced positioning features. For example, a popular TV closed caption file that is widely used is the .SCC file. A YouTube user can simply upload an .SCC file alongside a video file and YouTube will preserve all the caption positioning that was used in the TV broadcast.
Other file formats that YouTube can accept include WebVTT, DFXP, SAMI, STL EBU
The Importance of TV Closed Caption Text Formatting
For pre-recorded shows on TV, the position of the CC text on the screen is very important to viewers. For example, when there are two people talking at the same time, the caption text will be split into 2 lines. One line of text for the speaker on the left of the screen and another line of text for the speaker on the right. Similarly, there could be one screen sign or speaker identification that should not be blocked by caption text. Also, making the text italicized has significance. The italicized text means that the speaker is off-screen.
If there is no positioning or formatting of the caption text, then the YouTube closed captions do not have the same level of accessibility as the original TV broadcast closed captions. Therefore, it’s important to use closed captioning software that can accurately preserve the formatting and positioning of the original TV broadcast.
Auto Translation of Captions
A great feature that YouTube users can take advantage of is the Auto Translation feature of the YouTube captioning mechanism. When uploading a caption file such as .SCC to YouTube, the viewer can click the CC button and reveal a translation button that is user selectable. This means that someone who does not understand English can see an automatic translation of the captioned text in their native language.
The auto-translation is not perfect. Whenever possible a manually translated time-coded script should be uploaded to the YouTube video to provide the best accuracy possible. Multiple caption files in different languages can be associated with the same video. Many YouTube channels that have an international audience may have up to 10 languages of captions that viewers can select from.
Many times we are asked about the auto-captioning feature of YouTube. Oftentimes, a user uploads a video without captions only to find that the auto-captioning is not very accurate. The auto-captioning feature provides a level of accessibility when nothing else is available. However, it is not a substitute for professionally authored caption files that can be uploaded to YouTube.
iPhone Video CC with YouTube App
YouTube has released a new app that can be downloaded for free on the iPhone and iPad. This new app allows iOS viewers to take advantage of the caption files present in videos uploaded to YouTube. In the past, the iOS YouTube app did not allow captions to be viewed on the iPhone. This opens up a huge audience for videos with closed captions for the TV broadcasters who want to deliver their TV content over YouTube with closed captions.
YouTube Captioning is a Great Choice
In combination with the proper closed captioning desktop software, TV broadcasters can successfully utilize the YouTube captioning technology to delivery accessible media to everyone in the world. Not only will this expand the current audience of the video, but also increase its search engine optimization.