User-created subtitles on YouTube are now coming to an end


This is what subtitles look like on YouTube. This is autogenerated by YouTube, and it is not those that are removed but rather those that are made by the users themselves.

«Contributions from users will be discontinued for all channels after 28 September 2020.»

YouTube writes this on its own information website, and justifies the change with the fact that the functions were little used and had a number of problems with «spam and abuse». The company therefore wants to focus on other things, and removes user-generated subtitles on YouTube videos completely after the mentioned date.

Until now, YouTube videos have had one of three types of subtitles: subtitles created by the video creator himself, subtitles generated by YouTube, and subtitles created by users. The first two will thus still be available, so in most cases there will be subtitles of some kind on most videos – but the users themselves can not add them.This is what YouTube’s announcement of the change looks like.

This also means that multilingual subtitles will be far more economical, and that the quality of many subtitles will probably decline. Few creators bother to subtitle their videos, and most autogenerated texts have some major errors here and there. After all, it is a machine that will interpret the sound from the videos into text, and then there will often be questionable results.

One last option is third-party software, which can provide you with subtitles outside of YouTube’s own platform.

Deaf people and people with disabilities despair
The removal of the subtitles the users can create themselves may on the surface seem like a rather insignificant change, but according to The Verge, the change has unforeseen consequences for a number of user groups.

First and foremost people with disabilities, and not least the deaf. For deaf people, subtitles are the easiest way to understand what is being said in videos, where everyone with normal hearing, after all, hears what is being said.

It can also be a problem for people who do not necessarily have such good English skills, and have leaned on user-created translations in the subtitles. The YouTuber Philosophy Tube is one of several who despair for precisely that reason:

You will still be able to post your own subtitles on videos until September 28, but after that the opportunity disappears. YouTube also promotes the subtitle software Amara, and content creators who have had at least three videos with user-generated subtitles over the last 60 days will receive a free six-month subscription to this service.