TikTok adds automatic subtitles to videos on push for accessibility

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TikTok makers will soon be able to add automatically generated captions to their videos as the app tries to make itself more accessible. The option to add automatic subtitles appears on the edit page after a video is uploaded or recorded. TikTok says the feature will initially be available in US English and Japanese, but plans to add support for more languages ​​”in the coming months.”

The platform adds the feature to make TikTok videos easier to watch for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. However, a TikTok dialog also says the feature is useful for anyone who watches videos “when it is difficult or inconvenient for them to listen to audio.” Video creators can edit their subtitles after they have been auto-generated to fix any errors, and viewers can turn off the subtitles using the closed caption button on the panel.

As automatic transcription has gotten better over the years, services are increasingly adding it to their software to make content more accessible. Last month, Google built the feature into Chrome, which allows it to generate subtitles for audio played through the browser. The company’s Live Caption system is also available as a system-wide feature for select Android devicesVideo chat services such as Zoom and Google Meet can automatically generate captions during calls, and Instagram too seems to be testing a similar feature for its videos.

TikTok’s automatic captioning is just the latest accessibility feature. The app also warns creators about videos that are can cause photosensitive epilepsy and provides filters for viewers to avoid these videos. A text-to-speech feature was also available added late last year