Ken Harrenstein, a deaf engineer who helped develop the automatic captioning system, announces the launch (RPanoff)
AAPD Applauds Launch of Google YouTube Captioning System
On Thursday, November 19, AAPD Board Member Cheryl Sensenbrenner and staffers Jenifer Simpson, Unique Webster, Peter Viele and Rebecca Panoff attended the launch of Google's YouTube automated captioning system. This system uses some voice recognition technology, some automated time code programming code and other intelligent features that will allow YouTube video creators to include captions easily. While the technology inserts captions only in English-language speech, Google has added an automatic translation system for 51 languages. This will allow millions of YouTube videos to become available to people who do not speak English but could use the captioning technology to read subtitles in their native language. The captioning technology also allows search of the text, enabling research.
“This is a huge step forward for accessibility,” said Jenifer Simpson, “We applaud industry leadership such as this. We look to other companies to be as innovative in making their products and services accessible to people with disabilities.”
Moderated by Vint Cerf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf) -- often referred to as “the father of the Internet,“ -- who noted that "videos are a medium of political expression", members of Google's captioning accessibility team presented demonstrations of the system to an appreciative audience. Ken Harrenstein, a deaf engineer who helped develop the automatic captioning system, said the technology had never been applied on such a large scale. “This is something that I have dreamt of for many years,” said Harrenstein, “To see it happen is amazing.” Not yet available to everyone, Google plans to gradually expand the number of YouTube channels that work with the automatic captioning technology, starting with educational users such as Stanford, MIT, Yale, Duke, Columbia, PBS and National Geographic.
The event was attended by over a hundred people, including disability leaders from American Council of the Blind, National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Hearing Loss Association of America, Communication Services for the Deaf, National Captioning Institute, Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, and National Council on Independent Living, among others.
Google blog site about launch of the system at http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/11/automatic-captions-on-youtube.html includes signed and captioned video.