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YouTube Hits 1 Billion Captioned Videos

SAN BRUNO, CALIF.—YouTube’s captioning service has reached a milestone, with the company announcing that it has captioned 1 billion videos for the benefit of viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

YouTube began using automated caption services in 2009. The site combined Google’s automatic speech recognition technology with its own caption system to offer automatic caption of videos. With the addition of machine learning algorithms, expanding of training data and other tools to improve speech recognition, YouTube reports that it has increased its accuracy for automatic captions in English by 50 percent.

In YouTube’s blog post announcing the milestone, the site said that it will continue to improve caption accuracy and hopes to expand its automatic caption services for all ten of the languages it supports, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.