Blog: Why Humans Aren’t Obsolete Just Yet

Blog, Captioning 1 Feb 2018

Living in the world as it is today, it takes a good mental workout to think of something that can’t be done by technology/automation/robots/<insert relevant tech-savvy term here>. Whether you’re a technophile or you’ve seen too much of Westworld or Humans not to be suspicious, there’s no stopping progress.

Automated voice message systems are replacing human phone operators (which is more annoying, however, is still up for debate). Self-checkout machines are replacing the humble checkout operator (how ‘fast’ and ‘efficient’ is this really, though, when every couple of minutes, the machine insists on flashing lights and blaring, ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’ and a human supervisor has to come to your rescue for the umpteenth time while your fellow shoppers look on in disapproving smugness? What unexpected item?! It’s only the bag of frozen peas I put through three seconds ago!).

If you really wanted to, you could properly keep human contact (and physical exertion) to a minimum during a night in, picking out movies/TV shows to watch, ordering food, alcoholic beverages and even a masseuse (human, I’m assuming) by pushing buttons on your smartphone. You don’t even need a laptop to do all this. What a time to be alive.

And captioning isn’t immune to that now all-too-common question – isn’t there an app for that? (Or words expressing a similar sentiment.)

Actually, there is an app for that – or several, probably, but I draw your attention here to YouTube’s English auto-generated subtitling software. While the idea is good in theory, users of the platform will know it is generally better to leave them turned off, unless you’re after a bit of a laugh or if being confused out of your mind is your thing. While the software has come a ways since its introduction in 2006, YouTube itself features many videos using the software to comedic effect. (Yes, this video is a few years old, but turn the captions on now, and the fact of the matter remains. Oh, the irony.)

But the steady march of technological progress is a fact of modern life, and at Able, we don’t bemoan this. We use speech-recognition software daily, taking particular advantage of it for live-captioned events, such as sport and political debates. Speech-recognition technology maximises our efficiency and enables us to put out the best possible product for our viewers. It generates captions faster and closer to real time and gets out more information than typing.

And there is hope for YouTube’s captioning software too – no longer do you have to endure mediocre captions (unless, of course, you want to). Here is a step-by-step guide on how to edit the automatically generated captions on your YouTube content.

From the YouTube home page, navigate to Creator Studio from the top-right corner of your screen.

Click the down arrow next to the relevant video and select Subtitles & CC.

Select English (Automatic) on the right of the video.
Select Edit.
Edit the automatically generated captions.

Once you’re done, select Publish Edits.

You’re welcome.

Of course, if you’d prefer to bypass this process entirely, Able can provide 100% accurate captions for YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and other online platforms. Contact us to find out more.

So, you see, the reality is – it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Humanity and technology can live together in harmony. We can all just get along. We can be friends.

In the words of Helen Keller, the deaf-blind activist, ‘Together, we can do so much.’

Shrutika, Able Caption Editor

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