YouTube Ending Community Captions & Subtitles: What You Need to Know
A total of 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. With that much competition, it is easy for channels to get lost in the sea of content. Therefore, many YouTubers rely on closed captions and subtitles to optimize their channel and make their content more accessible.
Given how important captions are, you may be surprised by YouTube’s recent decision to end community contributions & community captions feature on September 28, 2020. You may also experience some anxiety as to what this means for your channel’s future. Worry not! This article will explain more about YouTube’s decision and what it means for creators and viewers alike.
What Are Community Contributions?
Captions and subtitles are invaluable resources for widening your audience and increasing accessibility. As such, YouTube provides creators with three different tools to deliver quality captions. One of these tools is community contributions.
When creators enable community contributions, anyone can contribute translated captions, video descriptions or titles. Once creators review and approve them, they are published for all to see. These crowdsourced captions ensure videos are accessible that might have otherwise not been. Furthermore, they help fuel the growth of smaller channels who don’t possess the resources for large scale captioning.
Why Are Community Contributions Being Discontinued?
YouTube has announced its intention to remove community contributions across all channels. According to the streaming platform, this decision comes in the wake of numerous spam and abuse complaints. Popular YouTubers had flagged up that viewers were sometimes leaving malicious comments in the captions.
Furthermore, Google also reported that the captions were under-utilized with less than 0.001% of channels carrying them. Very few users understood how to contribute captions and, even in cases where they did, the captions were of a low quality. For the above reasons, the platform has decided that the feature is no longer worth supporting in the future.
How Will This Impact The Deaf Community?
To members of the deaf community, YouTube’s announcement has come as a blow. Captions and subtitles allow the deaf and hard-of-hearing population to access content. Access is a basic human right and so including accurate captions with your videos is very important.
Community contributions are often the only means to get accurate captions for a video. YouTube’s automatically generated captions, whilst showing a marked improvement from recent years, still struggle with accents and cross-talk. As a result, often gibberish is produced which can create confusion and irritation. Moreover, not every channel creator has the ability to pay for captions or the time to produce them themselves. This back step in inclusivity could leave many deaf and hard of hearing viewers locked out of the viewing experience.
Furthermore, English learners and those with auditory processing disorders also rely on captions
What Does This Mean For YouTubers?
As we have already established, captions play a huge role in channel growth. When you add captions to your videos, you are giving search engines additional information. This means that it is much easier for your videos to be indexed and show up in searches. Additionally, adding captions to your videos helps you to expand your reach to foreign and deaf audiences alike.
However, small channels have mostly relied on community contributions for captions. As they are smaller in scale, they cannot afford to caption their videos themselves or buy them. Without, community contributed captions, fewer people could discover and understand their content. Accordingly, smaller creators may find that their reach will decrease considerably.
For creators who have a non-English native tongue, creating English captions could be impossible for them. These creators often rely on the community to help them translate their videos into English for wider enjoyment. Therefore, these YouTubers may also find it much harder to grow their channel and communicate with their community.
How to Order Captions for Your YouTube Videos
In place of these community captions, you can use a professional captioning service. Your best bet will be with third party vendors who can assist with captions & subtitle translations. Fortunately, quality captions don’t have to cost a fortune with Rev. Our highly proficient captioners can quickly produce accurate captions that suit your needs. With captions starting from $1.25/minute, even small channels can enjoy third party captioning tools & services.
Due to our partnership with YouTube, ordering captions is simple. Just head to the ‘Order Captions’ page (English captions) or ‘Order Subtitles’ page (subtitles are caption translations) and click the YouTube icon. From there, give Rev access to your channel and select the videos you want captioned. Once you’ve selected the videos, checkout your order and wait for your captions to arrive. It’s as simple as that!
To conclude, YouTube will be removing its community contributions feature by the end of the month. This will come as a shock to many given the number of people who rely on the service. For YouTubers, who desire to continue growing and connecting with their community through captions, Rev’s the way to go.