Want to Increase Views, Improve Accessibility, and Rank Higher in Search Engines? Start Transcribing Your Videos
// By Althea Fung //
Since the start of the pandemic, YouTube viewership in the U.S. has gone up, way up — 450 million hours of content watched per day in 2020, up from 250 million watch hours daily in 2019. While the platform delivers on serving up content to teach you how to knit, show you how to beat a challenging level of a video game, or watch someone gorge on massive amounts of food, there is one arena where the online video-sharing platform falls short: captions.
Sometimes called “craptions,” auto-generated captions, available on many video-sharing platforms, are entertaining for all the wrong reasons — they can often be nonsensical, with run-on sentences that are occasionally offensive. For the deaf or hard of hearing, auto-generated captions can make a difference in how you experience a video.
“If you think about the spoken word and the limitations it presents if you have a disability or just can’t listen to the audio or maybe it’s not in the language you speak — there are all these barriers,” says Adri Nowell, senior director of marketing at Rev, a speech-to-text company providing closed captioning, subtitles, and transcription services. Rev offers human captioning service, which promises 99 percent accuracy, as well as an AI-driven captioning service.
One in eight people (about 30 million) in the U.S. over the age of 12 have some hearing loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. But video captioning doesn’t just impact those with hearing loss. Video production manager Anthony Vivian and his team at South Florida-based Baptist Health learned when lawyers contacted them that many of their videos weren’t compliant for people who are blind or have low vision. “We weren’t in WCAG compliance for our YouTube and Vimeo videos. We weren’t even aware of how we needed to up our game for the visually impaired,” Vivian says.
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