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    YouTube plans to shut down Community Contributions, a tool for user-generated captions and subtitles

    Synopsis

    Google blames lack of use and reports of 'spam and abuse' for the closure.

    Reuters
    Other captioning options such as manual uploads by the video’s owner, will remain available.
    YouTube’s experiment with Community Contributions is coming to an end. The tool, which, was used to let anyone on the internet contribute translations, subtitles and descriptions of videos, will be shut down on September 28. The reason given by Google for its closure is the lack of use and reports of “spam and abuse.”

    Other captioning options such as manual uploads by the video’s owner, will remain available. Google has also offered to “cover the cost of a 6-month subscription of Amara.org for all creators who have used the Community Contribution feature for at least 3 videos in the last 60 days.”

    While the use of community captions has been miniscule – less than 0.001 percent of channels have published videos with community caption, and these accounted for less than 0.2 percent of watch time in the last month – the news did not sit well with users in some markets.

    Content creators in non-English speaking countries like Japan, Korea, and Brazil, rely heavily on translations submitted by members of the YouTube community in furthering their user base. The Amara subscription, Google believes, should help such creators.

    It further added that it has “obtained special pricing and benefits from additional third party vendors, who can assist with caption, translation and subtitle needs.” Community translations currently saved as drafts will be available till September 28, and can be published before then. This will offer respite to video publishers who have already invested time and effort into translating long-form videos.

    Drafts will be deleted after September 28, but contributions hat have already been published by then will show up in videos. Automatic subtitles, sometimes achieved with free translation apps, are often off the mark, leaving a lot lost in translation, which is why YouTube decided to launch Community Contribution.

    However, the highly niche function has failed to garner much popularity, and has also been the target of miscreants who post inaccurate, and often, vulgar subtitles. But for fans of user-generated foreign language video content, the experience is likely to be less enjoyable without authentic subtitles and descriptions.

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    1 Comment on this Story

    Ethanyte19 days ago
    The removal of the community contribution is not because of the lack in popularity of it's use, such accessibility oriented features are expected to be less in use from the a long time and for various platforms and reasons as it is targetting a small fraction already. Even after that, it doesn't mean that such feature is bound to fall as it has been proven quite useful for diverse audiences and small creators. The discontinuation in communication contribution feature is for a monopoly played by youtube; replace the open source outsourcing by paid services to earn more, this makes it easier for big channels to carry on as they already pay other services for the subtitles but bounds smaller channels. And even that small percentage means in millions of ad revenue for creators that was targetted through community contributions as there are over 2 billion channels. That's a lot of money involved that YouTube has eye on. No company is all good and they as everyone will prioritise profits over accessibility or user satisfaction.
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