TikTok creators will soon be able to add automatically generated captions to their videos as the app tries to make itself more accessible. The option to automatically add captions will appear on the edit page after a video is uploaded or recorded. TikTok says the feature will initially be available in American English and Japanese, but it plans to add support for more languages “in the coming months.”
The platform is adding 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 watching videos “when it is difficult or inconvenient for them to listen to audio.” Creators can edit their captions after they are automatically generated to fix any errors, and viewers can disable captions via the caption button on the pane.
As automatic transcription has gotten better and better over the years, services have increasingly added it to their software to make content more accessible. Last month, Google built the feature into Chrome, allowing it to generate captions for audio played through the browser. The company’s Live Caption system is also available as a system-wide feature for certain Android devices. Video chat services such as Zoom and Google Meet can automatically generate captions during conversations, and Instagram also appears to be testing a similar feature for its videos.
TikTok’s automatic captions are just the latest accessibility feature. The app also warns creators about videos that can cause photosensitive epilepsy and provides filters for viewers to avoid these videos. A text-to-speech feature was also added late last year.
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