Auto Translate, the Latest YouTube Feature
Article by George Norman
On 04 Nov 2008
The newest feature to hit YouTube is called “Auto Translate”, and as the name suggests, it translates YouTube content. This is not a dubbing feature; the audio stream will not be automatically converted into the language of your choice. The feature works by translating the captions, or subtitles associated to that video. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and going by that reasoning we will assume that a movie is inestimable, especially since now you can understand what the guy in the video is actually saying.

So let’s say that you post a video of yourself talking about an issue that is relevant to yourself and to the world. That video will make sense only to those who speak your language. If you are a native English speaker, most of the world can speak English (more or less) and will comprehend your message; but what if you speak Bulgarian, or Romanian? You will be gutted when you will see how few views your video got.


Here is the solution that YouTube came up with. Associate a caption (or subtitles) to that video, and let the Auto Translate feature do the rest. If someone is interested in your video, he can just turn on this new feature and it will translate those subtitles. There is a wide variety of languages to choose from, so surely you will find one that you can comprehend.

There is a catch though – YouTube introduced the captions and subtitles feature just a couple of months ago, meaning that you will be hard pressed to find videos with subtitles. Once you manage to find one, there are a few simple steps to follow in order to turn Auto Translate on. First of all click on the arrow-like icon on the bottom right corner of the screen. A pop-up menu will appear - click on the “CC” tab to activate the captions. Once you have done so, a slide-out menu will appear – click “Translate”. All you have to do now is choose the language into which you want the subtitles to be translated, and then click “Translate” again. The translation is not perfect since it is done by machines, but at least you will have a pretty decent idea what message the video is trying to convey.

Tags: YouTube
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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