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Captioning video gets easier

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 9 May 07, 08:40 AM

Video is now everywhere on the web, so it is great to be able to report on a couple of closed captioning tools that could help to transform watching video online for the hearing impaired.

Dotsub is a tool that allows people to add captioning to video. So, for example, suppose I have video about 'Billy the bouncing ball' that I want to have captioned. I can use dotsub to add the captioning myself and then make the video available on Access 2.0, YouTube, or any other website I want to. The captioning appears below the video just like the captioning on TV. The dotsub logo in the top right corner of a video indicates it has captioning.

Project ReadOn has a different approach to closed captioning. Their website is like YouTube, and you access all the videos from that central location. But the biggest difference is that Project ReadOn provide the captioning. Instead of me spending the time adding captioning to my video myself, all I would have to do is ask them to do it. They promise to review all submissions within 24 hours and when I nominated a video, it didn’t take much longer than that for the captioned version to appear. Unlike dotsub, Project ReadOn captioning appears in a pop-up window.

These are two very different approaches to captioning. Personally, I think that dotsub delivers a more polished final product. As a geek, I like the idea of captioning a video myself and distributing it to websites. The downside of that is that it takes time and effort to do, and I’m not a professional, so the captioning might not be so good. As a user, though, Project ReadOn appeals more. I only have to go to one place to find video I want to watch, and until many, many more videos have captioning, finding something on YouTube is a bit like finding a specific needle in a haystack of needles. And if I can't find what I want there, all I have to do is suggest a suitable video for Project ReadOn to caption.

Either way, I do think it is exciting that not only is there a way to create and access more closed-captioned video on the web, but a choice in how to do it.

Comments   Post your comment

However, there's nothing to aggregate this content. When surfing the web, how do you know if something has been subtitled?

I blogged about this recently, and how to solve.

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