YouTube has launched a new feature which will allow trusted viewers to add subtitles to content from their favourite channels – more than a year and a half after the platform axed community contributions.
The social media site faced a significant public outcry in September 2020 when it chose to deprecate the tool – which allowed users to add captions and translations on behalf of a creator – despite strong public support.
YouTube said it went ahead with the move due to spam and low usage, but announced a new permissions role would be created to allow select individuals to only add captions to a channel’s video.
In September 2021, a year after YouTube axed community contributions, a spokesperson told this website the replacement feature was “taking longer than anticipated”.
“We have a dedicated team working on this and it’s something we’re committed to getting right. From a technical perspective, it’s a difficult problem to solve.
“We acknowledge that it’s taking longer than expected, which is why we’re extending the subscription of Amara.org for eligible creators.
“Outside of this feature, we’ve made strides with other accessibility features and will be making an announcement in the coming weeks,” they said.
The announcement was eventually made on Monday, with a YouTube employee sharing news of the Subtitles Editor in a Help article.
The staff member, named Jensen, wrote: “Today we’re launching a new role within Channel Permissions called ‘Subtitle Editor’. This role allows you to grant trusted users limited access to your channel to help with adding captions to your content.
“When we discontinued the Community Captions feature, we heard from a lot of you that you need to share the work of captioning with others, and how meaningful it is for people to create captions for their favorite creators. We hope this feature helps achieve some of that.
“We know this feature took longer than expected, but we wanted to make sure it worked for both creators and viewers before making it more widely available. Thank you for your patience as we worked on rolling this out.”
Subtitle Editors will be able to see a list of videos eligible for captioning as part of the role, they added, with the feature being “one step” the platform is taking to “[improve] the accessibility of videos”.