Google bleated its own horn last week concerning a new “YouTube Ready” captioning initiative.  Our sad question is:  “What took you so long?”

In October 2006, Google paid $1.65 Billion USD for YouTube and, last week, Google wrote this on their “Official YouTube Blog:”

Captioning is becoming increasingly important to YouTube and videos all across the web. Captions ensure that many more people can understand what’s happening in your video, from deaf and hard of hearing viewers to people who speak a different language from you and choose to auto-translate the captions into their language. Captions also make your video a lot more discoverable. People searching for content on YouTube might encounter your video if your captions contain the words or subjects they’re looking for.

Why hasn’t captioning been important from the start?

We’re not sure how or why this new initiative is any different than — CaptionTube that we wrote about a year ago — and while we celebrate captioning, we are stumped why Google haven’t used their muscle sooner to press forward this necessary, and inclusory, mandate for universal accessibility.

We never understood why the terrible, and incredibly annoying, YouTube annotations were added to YouTube in June 2008 and given so much importance while proper, professional, captioning was left to founder for five years.

We’ve also had a tough time reaching the official Described and Captioned Media Project website Google points to their announcement:

The Google Cache for that website was empty, too.  If you can hit the DCMP website, please let us know the details you discover.

Google should be apologizing to us for being so slow on bringing proper captioning to YouTube and not spinning the PR machine by bragging about finally starting to bring YouTube properly into the foundering Human Race.


  1. Kind of makes me wonder how many small companies are going to spring up offering caption services for small and large Youtube accounts. I still can’t reach that site to which they linked.

    1. As I understand it, Gordon, that dead link is supposed to take you to a list of “approved” companies you can hire to caption your YouTube videos.

  2. David,

    I think the DCMP site is up now – I can hit it on my smartphone, at any rate.

    The recent announcement from YouTube is that they have a new “YouTube Ready” designation for professional captioning companies, administered by the Described and Captioned Media Project.

    My company is one of the initial 12 listed, and we’re different from CaptionTube in that we will do the work of captioning for a content owner, instead of the self-serve approach.

    In related news, YouTube recently announced an initiative for using speach-recognition technology to automatically caption all new English-language content for free, so it does seem like they’re intentionally moving the issue to the forefront.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment,

    1. Hi Don!

      Thank you for stepping in and commenting and giving us direct insight into the program.

      How much do you charge for services and what is your turnaround time? How do you compare with the other for-pay captioning services?

  3. David,

    We charge $37.50 for an untimed transcript that you can use YouTube’s auto-timing feature to line up the text, or $75 for us to do everything including adding descriptions to indicate which speaker is talking, soind effects, etc.

    We promise a 6-day turnaround but routinely turn jobs around in just a few days, depending on workload.

    There are some cheaper and a few that cost a little more than us, but I think everyone is close to the same rate.


  4. CCAC is a fairly new national project, aiming to be THE grass roots non-commercial non-profit place for Captioning Advocacy in all places needed, building bridges among providers, users, established organizations and newer ideas. Time flies as the blogger notes :-), so the time is now for quality speech-to-text (captioning, CART, and improved automatic systems). Join the CCAC on its website if you want to use your voice with us for Captioning Advocacy actions.
    Captions help those who are hard of hearing, deafened, and deaf, as well as all learning a new language, millions and millions of able people. For those who complain about them in theaters, in government, in airports, in hospitals, get used to it.

    1. Thank you for your outstanding comment! I agree captioning is vital and important for inclusion in the warp and woof of our daily lives. We need more, not less, captioning and yes — people better get used to it!

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