Deaf-friendly You Tube Videos

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 7, 2010 at 10:34 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
 Deaf-friendly You Tube Videos
YouTube videos can now be more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing thanks to new automatic captions technology.

The feature will initially apply to English language videos, but other languages will be added in future.

The Google-owned company has claimed the use of speech recognition technology is probably the biggest experiment of its kind online.

"A core part of YouTube's DNA is access to content," the BBC News quoted the firm's product manager, Hunter Walk, as saying.

The company hopes to democratise information and "help foster greater collaboration and understanding" by opening all this content to people who have been unable to access it in the past.

Google engineer Mike Cohen, revealed that the technology behind speech recognition has been around for some time, though it has now become possible to apply it on a large scale.

Cohen said: "I have been working on speech technology for 25 years. There have been steady improvements and this is the culmination of lots of work over years and years.

"We have had to work on a wide variety of problems like accent variation, background noise, the variation in language, in pronunciation."

Students at the California School for the Deaf, in Freemont, are overjoyed with the advent of the new technology.

They have even made a video to show the tool's advantage.

Angel Harrington, a student, said: "We felt like we weren't part of the world. We felt excluded. Now we really can completely understand what is going on and we feel like we are on an equal playing field."

However, engineers have warned the product is not perfect.

Software engineer Ken Harrenstien pointed out an error that occurred in the system, while Google executive Vic Gundotra addressed a developers meeting.

The tool had mistook the words "sim card" for "salmon".

Harrenstien said: "It is not a complete solution but it is a step on the way to the real solution.

"It's difficult to get every word exactly right but sometimes that doesn't matter and other times it's amusing."

The technology is important to Harrenstien, who has spent last five years on the project, because he has been deaf as a child.

He ended: "This is huge. It is what I have dreamt about for so many years. The fact that you can now go on to any video online and expect to see captions is unbelievable and the fact I had a part in this is great." (ANI)

Source: ANI

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