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YouTube Automatic Caption Fails are the humorous, incorrect captions produced by Google’s automatic speech recognition technology for videos on YouTube. Both real and fake screenshots of particularly absurd automatic transcriptions are often posted on various sites.
On November 19th, 2009, Google announced on their official blog that they were releasing a new automatic captioning feature for YouTube.
Auto-caps use the same voice recognition algorithms in Google Voice to automatically generate captions for video. The captions will not always be perfect (check out the video below for an amusing example), but even when they’re off, they can still be helpful--and the technology will continue to improve with time.
The service was initially only available for a select few partner sites, but on March 4th, 2010, Tech Crunch reported that the service had been launched for all YouTube users.
A thread titled “Post inaccurate YouTube transcribed captions here” was posted on the YTP forum You Chew Poop on March 4th, 2010. On March 5th, the Internet news blog Mashable posted an article titled “A New Meme is Brewing: YouTube Caption Fail.” A slideshow of YouTube caption fails were posted to The Huffington Post on March 29th. On January 31st, 2011, YouTubers Rhett and Link uploaded a video satirizing the captioning service and it received over 1 million views within 7 months.