YouTube transcripts and auto-translated captions are coming to your phone


You now have even more ways to watch videos on the platform

Captions are one of YouTube’s most useful features. We’re not always in a context where we can hear a video’s audio, and captions can save our day in that regard by allowing us to watch a video even if you’re phone is muted. At Google I/O 2022, the company confirmed that YouTube is doubling down on captions, adding transcripts and auto-translations for videos you watch on your phone.

Let’s start with transcripts. These will be auto-generated using Google’s speech recognition models, just like automatic captions, with the added difference that you’ll be able to read them down in a list form similar to the auto-transcripts in the Google Recorder app, at least from what we saw in the brief demo that was shown during Google’s keynote.

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Just like auto-captions, though, don’t expect these to work brilliantly, especially not when it first launches. While it typically works amazing in Google Recorder, videos can be more of a mixed bag, and you might get either perfect transcripts or really low-quality ones depending on the video.

We’re also getting auto-translated captions. It works exactly the way you think — if a video has captions, you can go into its settings and tap on “Auto-translate,” select your preferred language, and you’ll have subtitles adapted to your language. This feature has been available for a long time on the web version of YouTube, so its arrival on the mobile version is long overdue.


This can come in handy in a lot of scenarios. While some YouTube creators offer captions in their videos in multiple languages, it’s definitely not the norm. Our phones are also becoming one of the main ways to access YouTube, so the fact that mobile users can now translate subtitles will open doors and help creators reach audiences from all around the world, regardless of what language they’re speaking.

Auto-translated captions will initially be available in 16 languages, with Ukrainian joining that list next month, partly so that users can check out accurate content about the ongoing Russian invasion.


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