YouTube is improving video accessibility for both viewers with sight issues and those beyond the English-speaking world. To start, the company is testing the option of adding multiple audio tracks to videos. This will help with international viewers, of course, but it should also enable descriptive audio for people with little to no vision. This arrives sometime in the “coming quarters,” YouTube said.
Automatic captions should also be far more commonplace. YouTube now permits live automatic captions for any livestream in English, not just those with 1,000 or more subscribers. These live captions will be available for all 13 supported auto-captioning languages in the “coming months,” according to the company. Auto-translated captions will also reach supported languages on Android and iOS later in 2021, so you won’t have to turn to your PC to make sense of a video you don’t understand.
An experiment later in 2021 will let you search transcripts on your phone, YouTube added. A previously promised subtitle editor is still on track to launch in the “coming months,” giving creators the chance to delegate subtitle creation to someone they trust.
The upgrades make sense. YouTube is increasingly dependent on a global audience for views, particularly with the growth of livestreaming. These tweaks ensure more people can watch, even if a creator doesn’t have the resources to add subtitles themselves.