Providing video-based learning and auto-captioning in multiple languages isn’t the challenge it once was for businesses with a global footprint. This blog post explores how the straightforward application of automated services such as captioning and translation in eLearning is benefiting the global delivery of training content.
When YouTube was announced as one of the world’s largest search engines a few years ago1, one concern that remained was its provision for people less able to consume the content. Google and YouTube’s engineers wanted to do more to improve auto-captioning software. So they set about rectifying the situation and improving the technology in ways that would allow more people to fully benefit from videos on the platform2.
In a sense, they were repeating the work carried out decades earlier by the television industry, which introduced closed-captioning during the early 1970s. The difference was that auto-captioning for online audiences needed to be carried out on a far larger scale. Just how big? In 2015, YouTube revealed that over 400 hours of video content is uploaded every minute3! And the platform has since grown in popularity.
Speech technology, the engineers knew, would provide the way forward. And in the same way automated captions have led to the production of more than a billion automated captions4, they’re increasingly being used by organizations looking to provide translation in eLearning.
As speech and auto-captioning technologies continue to rapidly evolve every year, their implications for training programs are significant. L&D teams who make use of them are able to reach all of their learners, and drive up productivity and engagement. The technology now available means that businesses who would’ve had to spend dozens of hours captioning and translating a relatively small piece of video content can now carry out the task in a fraction of the time.
Here are four things to know about video translation and why it can be a vital tool for L&D.
Embedding translation and captioning services is much easier for businesses than it used to be. Part of the reason for this is the ability for learning platforms to support what are known as secure external API interactions.
An API (Application Programming Interface) refers to the way applications integrate with each other. In this case, the external applications are systems that can provide processing on video and audio content. This means your learning tools can integrate with services such as Google Translate, which is thought to be used by more than 200 million people each month5. It isn’t specific to one vendor, though: it can be configured to work with any third-party service you need.
Google’s language processing capabilities mean all of the content you add to your system can be accurately transcribed and captioned into 103 languages6. This is another figure that’s risen rapidly during the past ten years. In 2006, Google Translate only supported two languages7, whereas its prevalence nowadays means it translates more than 100 billion words a day8.
We know how powerful this is for organizations looking to expand into new areas or support extended enterprises around the world. With a tool like gomo, you can upskill learners wherever they are and whatever languages they learn best in.
When content is processed externally, all of it can be returned to your video learning platform. As well as ensuring that you retain total control, this means the content is stored in the data structure provided by your video learning tool.
From there, your learners can search for it and discover content in the same way they would on familiar content sites such as Netflix. This creates a much more learner-friendly navigation and ensures greater accessibility and engagement with learning.
We know that automated translation and captioning services are not perfect. It’s unlikely you’d use them if you needed to interpret and explain an important business letter or video full of complex terminology. However, even at an early stage of its evolution, in 2011, Google Translate was found to be of sufficient quality to understand college graduate level material9, and the auto-captioning provided by modern learning tools is also highly accurate.
What’s more, these systems are becoming more intelligent all the time.
There’s little doubt that auto-captioning and translation are invaluable for the purposes of translation in eLearning. It’s far better to provide all employees with highly accurate, high-quality learning than to be left with knowledge gaps due to a complete lack of translation and captioning functionality. Without auto-captioning, people who would have no other way of knowing what was being said would miss out entirely on learning.
In addition, auto-translation and captioning services transform the speed at which organizations are able to distribute content. Rather than leaving a global audience waiting, content can be interpreted and added to a video learning platform within minutes.
Of course, this also has the potential to save huge amounts of money. And with a modern video learning system, you can edit and tweak automatically-generated data through an easy-to-use interface.
Despite their simplicity and power, the tools that can provide easy captioning and translation in eLearning are still relatively new and overlooked. Major global companies such as Adobe have used machine translation to improve business performance and solve key challenges10.
Video technology such as Instilled by PeopleFluent now comes as standard with automatic caption generation and translation—perfect for rolling out videos to a global audience at speed.
However, enterprises often don’t realize how straightforward it can be to take advantage of this extremely useful functionality and make their training much more accessible.
Experts such as Denis Gachot, whose work includes playing a pivotal role in translation for the US Air Force, have called upon businesses to take advantage of the translation tools within their grasp. It’s clear that spoken-word translation will be a key component in the future, and it’s a matter of time before captioning and translation in eLearning become an everyday part of effective training programs.
We provide multi-language services at the click of a button for effortless captioning and translation. Our screen capture technology, which is an important part of providing your learners with that “YouTube experience”, supports automatic caption generation and translation.
A version of this post originally appeared on the gomo Learning blog.
1. The Telegraph (2016), ‘YouTube is now more popular than Google.com on desktop computers’
2. Scientific American (2011), ‘Say What? Google Works to Improve YouTube Auto-Captions for the Deaf’
3. TubeFilter (2015), ‘YouTube Now Gets Over 400 Hours Of Content Uploaded Every Minute’
4. Engadget (2017), ‘YouTube now has over one billion auto-captioned videos’
5. First Post (2012), ‘Google Translate hits 200 Million Monthly Active Users’
6-7. Google (2016), ‘Ten years of Google Translate’
8. Forbes (2017), ‘This Translation Tool Is Helping Global Brands Break Language Barriers’
9. Translation Journal (2011), ‘An Analysis of Google Translate Accuracy’
10. Forbes (2017), ‘This Translation Tool Is Helping Global Brands Break Language Barriers’
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