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One Billion Captioned YouTube Videos

Would you believe us if we said that more than one billion YouTube videos are captioned? Google says there are!


The option to add closed captioning to videos was introduced by Google in 2006. Liat Kaver, YouTube’s product manager, works on accessibility and closed captioning features. She is also deaf and wears two cochlear implants. Like other d/Deaf and hard of hearing people, she needs captions to understand what she’s watching.


Due to lack of captions growing up, Kaver dreamed of creating a system that could deliver high quality automatic captions and in 2009, automatic captions were born.


As of 2017, an estimate of over one billion videos are now equipped with captions. Kaver says that over 15 million videos are viewed every day with captions.


When automatic captions were first introduced, they were far from perfect, but now, the automatic captions in English have improved by 50%. This is due to the improvements in speech recognition technology and data.


DTV News reached out to Rikki Poynter, a Deaf YouTuber who is known for making videos about the importance of proper closed captioning on YouTube.


Hello, my name is Rikki Poynter, and this is my sign name. I’m a Deaf YouTuber. When automatic captions were first introduced a long time ago, I didn’t like them. They were awful. A lot of words were wrong. I’ve made a lot of vlogs about closed captioning awareness, so this is very important to me. Do I think that one billion YouTube videos are really captioned? Ehhh, maybe. Are automatic captions better now than they were before? Yes, but most videos I’ve come across still have a lot of mistakes. However, I believe that Google is working hard to fix the problems. I hope that as Google continues to work hard on fixing the system, many more videos will have better automatic captions. Thank you.



Thank you, Rikki, for your thoughts.

Here’s a little test. Take a look at some newer videos that only have automatic captions. Try them out for about a minute. Do you see an improvement? Let us know.


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