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

YouTube’s experiment withis coming to an end. The tool, which, was used to let anyone on the internet contribute translations,and descriptions of videos, will be shut down on September 28. The reason given byfor 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-monthof 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 within some markets.

Content creators in non-English speaking countries like Japan, Korea, and Brazil, rely heavily on translations submitted by members of thecommunity 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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