Videos uploaded to Google’s video hosting site YouTube are usually available in a single language. To make these available to YouTube users who do not understand that language, Google introduced subtitle options to YouTube a long time ago.
Nowadays, captions may be generated automatically on YouTube. While the automatic generation of captions works so-so, it still makes content accessible to users who would not be able to make use of it otherwise.
Soon, YouTube users may listen to videos in languages that they understand, even if the original language of the video is not among them. Powered by Aloud, a Google Area 120 project, videos may be dubbed automatically soon on YouTube using AI.
Aloud was first unveiled in 2022 as an Area 120 project. Its main purpose back then was the creation of tools to help video producers create subtitles for their videos in different languages and dubbing. Dubbing refers to a video production technique that changes the language of video by swapping audio and trying to match the new audio track as closely as possible with lip activity.
Aloud does most of the heavy lifting for video producers. It transcribes the video in the beginning and the video producers may review and edit the transcription. Once satisfied with the result, Aloud translates the text into selected languages and produces the dub.
Aloud published a short demonstration video last year that highlights how it works:
Aloud is in early access currently; this restricts access to the technology but also the languages that it supports at the time. Only a few languages, including English, Spanish or Portuguese are supported at the time.
YouTube appears to be testing the tool currently with some creators, according to a statement by Amjad Hanif, Vice President of Creator Products, YouTube.
Interested users and content producers may check out the following video on YouTube. Its original language is English, but it is also available in Spanish thanks to Aloud.
Select Settings > Audio Track > Spanish (Latin America) dubbed to switch to Spanish.
YouTube has big plans for Aloud. Besides extending support to other languages, Aloud will have capabilities to mimic the creator’s voice in the target language, improve lip syncing and more expression.
Applications for such a technology are far reaching. YouTube content producers may use it to reach an audience that might otherwise be out of reach for them. It remains to be seen how well the transcription and creation of foreign language audio works, and how much work producers need to invest into creating good transcriptions that the AI may use to create the additional audio tracks for their videos.
Now You: What do you prefer, subtitles or dubs?
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