PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Captioning YouTube Videos

Yesterday, I spent the entire day transcribing all my crochet video tutorials so I could add closed captioning to my videos. From now on, if you’re hard of hearing or have any problems understanding my accent, you can turn on the subtitles (it’s the ‘CC’ option on all YouTube videos) and read along as I talk.

PlanetJune crochet video tutorials on YouTube - now with captions
An example screenshot of one of my tutorials with CC turned on.

An added bonus is that, now YouTube is owned by Google, non-English speakers can use Google’s auto-translate to get a (reasonable, if not perfect) translation of my videos, too:

PlanetJune crochet video tutorials on YouTube - auto-translate captions into any language
‘anneau magique’ = ‘magic ring’ in French! (Note: as far as I can see, auto-translate only works on the non-mobile version of YouTube at time of writing.)

I think adding these captions is a valuable addition to my video tutorials, and I’ll be creating transcripts for all my new videos in future, too. But doing this wasn’t something I’d planned…

Auto-Captions: a Cautionary Tale

Did you know that YouTube now adds automatic closed captioning to most videos? That sounds like a great feature, but it turns out it’s appallingly (and hilariously) inaccurate.

Yesterday, I looked at the auto-captions for my videos for the first time and was truly horrified. They made no sense at all; almost every word was wrong (e.g. it’s ‘loop stitch’, not ‘lipstick’). But, worst of all, they also included some adult words and phrases that often made it sound like I was describing something very different from crochet..!

After working so hard to produce clear, comprehensible video tutorials, to find YouTube had added this comedy subtitling was a big disappointment – anyone who’s tried to watch my videos with the closed captioning turned on must think I’m a complete idiot. (But, this was also an opportunity for me to enhance my videos by adding this feature properly, so it’s not all bad.)

As I was replacing the auto-captions on each video with my new transcripts, I kept a list of the old captions for one phrase that I always say at the start of every video: “this is June from PlanetJune”. It’s a good indication of how poor (and inconsistent) the auto-captioning is. For my 30 video tutorials, YouTube mis-interpreted that same phrase in 15 different ways:

  • this is Jin from panicking
  • this is came from panicking
  • this is Jim component you
  • this is Kim from time to time
  • this is Kim from from gene
  • this is Kim from pumpkin
  • this scheme complaint came
  • this is Jen from Panaji
  • this is Kim from Planet game
  • this is Jim component to
  • this is Jim from Planet came
  • this is Kim from planet King
  • this is Jin from panicking
  • this is June from panicking
  • this is Kim from panicking

…so I’m sure you can imagine how bad the captions for the remainder of the videos were (although “this is June from panicking” was a pretty accurate description of me when I first discovered the extent of this problem!)

I don’t know if my English accent caused extra problems for the auto-captioning, but, given the results I got with my fairly common/neutral accent I don’t have high hopes that auto-captioning is ever accurate enough to be useful.

Check your Video Captions

If you make YouTube videos, I’d recommend that you check the results of your auto-captions as soon as possible, and see if yours are any better than mine were!

  • If there are only a few mistakes, it’s easy to edit the captions to fix them.
  • If they’re as bad as mine were but you don’t have time to create proper transcripts at the moment, you can at least turn the auto-captions off for each video, so people won’t laugh at you!
  • Or, you can do what I did and replace the auto-captioning on each video with a text file containing a complete and accurate transcript. (This takes time, but it’ll help people to find you in search as well as being useful to your viewers, so I’d say it’s well worth doing.)

How do you do these things? Here are some helpful links from YouTube to get you started:


Closed captioning my videos wasn’t something I’d ever thought to do, but yet again (as with my mobile-friendly site redesign last year) Google has forced my hand in a way that’s made me improve my offerings. So, um, thanks, Google?

If you’d like to see my tutorials, I have playlists for them in my YouTube channel:

I’m very happy to have accurate and helpful subtitles on all my video tutorials now, and I hope they’ll make my videos an even more useful resource for crocheters. 🙂

8 Comments »

  1. Pamela said

    This is so great of you to do! I turn on the auto captions a lot when I watch videos because it’s such a riot.

    • June said

      Oh, that’s a point! My videos are going to seem so dull from now on, without the inappropriately racy captions – I hope people will still watch them 😉

  2. Michelle said

    I have a lot of trouble getting things from videos so I am thrilled you fixed that. Although some of the captions I have read in the past on YouTube from other videos could also be entertaining as Pamela said.

  3. .: petrOlly :. said

    Are you sure you are not Kim? At least from time to time? 😉 This was hilarious 😀

    I think it’s a great improvement for your customers – not only if they are hard of hearing but also for people who do not speak English (well).
    One does not think about certain things – as long as one isn’t confronted with them – I have two(!) colour-blind colleagues at work so I need to take this into account by every document, presentation, etc. that I create…

    I look forward to your future video tutorials 🙂

    • June said

      Now I have a whole list of alter-egos I can use – from time to time 😉

      I try to consider colour-blindness too when I make my tutorials (at least red/green – I know there are other variants that are less common too).

      To anyone reading this: please let me know if there are other areas where I could improve the accessibility of my patterns and tutorials. (I can’t promise I can always make changes to improve things for you, but I’d like to try my best, and I definitely can’t do anything about it if I don’t know there’s a problem!)

      • .: petrOlly :. said

        BTW, thanks for the information how/where to change the captions!
        I just checked the 3 videos from my company and… I can’t stop laughing 😀 The captions need to be corrected but for now I just disabled them. LOL 😉

  4. Jana said

    Funny! Just FYI Siri on the iPhone is just as “dangerous”! I did a voice text to my daughter a few months ago, and it changed one of my words to the “F” word!! My daughter texted back with about 6 laughing with tears faces! I don’t use it unless I have no choice as I have NO idea what my message will end up saying!

  5. Dear June….
    I have been crocheting since I was about6-7 (learned from Grandma) but had never thought of the lovely BLO you use… I am 91 now… I love it and will certainly use it. I am thinking of making some little animals for my grandchildren to send along with a shawl i just made for my daughter-in-law. Oh, and I love your accent, my darling Grandmother Cartwright was from England, so I’m used to it.

    I, too, had a batch of laughs at your lovely captions. I worked as a Copy Chief in advertising, which got me the main job being the correcter of all the dreadful mistakes that could happen in my copy writers work. My assistant, my secretary and I used to keep notes and have laughs at what we wound up with. This, of course, was before computers that checked your work for misspelling. Even now I find dreadful mistakes in books though… both in spelling and wording. I tend to correct all library books the way I corrected my writer’s work… and still get lots of laughs. Thanks so much for your work and help. Peg

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment here! I read and appreciate every comment. I only respond to questions here on the blog, so please return to this page to see my reply, or check the box below to subscribe to new comments by email.

Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
  • Follow me

    RSS FeedSubscribe to my blog by EmailFollow me on TwitterFollow me on Facebook
    Friend me on RavelryWatch me on YouTubeFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Instagram
  • Life Behind the Scenes

  • Browse Blog Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon:
    Thank you for your support!
Back to top