A few months ago, I was talking with a good friend about new technologies and he mentioned Stanford’s video captioning services. I didn’t understand why it was that exciting a technology, at first. After visiting the site and seeing how Stanford was using captions to supercharge its videos, it all made clicked.
Captions turn video content inside out, making them searchable and accessible to the world.
You’re going to learn about three powerful reasons why your business or organization should leverage YouTube captions.
Adding closed captions to videos make video content much more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing video watchers. When captions are properly configured, the speech and actions can be mapped to the video’s timeline.
This video was created by the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and describes some of the accessibility benefits of YouTube captions.
YouTube also allows caption files for 139 different languages. That means you can create one video and fix one caption file then have it translated into 138 languages.
YouTube’s auto translate feature works fairly well. I uploaded a video, cleaned up the captions, then turned on the Spanish auto translation version. YouTube did a good job translating the text to Spanish with 80-90% accuracy. If you want a precise translation, you can upload a language specific caption file.
Three. Search engine optimization (SEO)
YouTube and Google are both indexing text within closed caption files.
This means all your video’s voice information will be indexed and will show up on YouTube and Google search results. I couldn’t find any official YouTube mention of how (or if) it indexes videos, so I set up an experiment to test things out. See the video below.
SEO PRO-TIP: Transcripts
If you are going to embed a YouTube video on a web site, you can do some additional search engine optimization by adding the transcript to the page. The transcript is the caption text without any of the time code information. Transcripts also allow users to quikly scan content without having to view the video in real time.
We just learned three powerful reasons to leverage YouTube’s Closed Captions features.
- Captions open up the world to deaf and hard of hearing users
- Your videos can be made accessible to the world with language translation, and
- You will get a great SEO bump by having YouTube and Google indexing your content.
Can you think of any other reasons to levarage captions? As always, I value your feedback and comments.