Facebook is going to bring automatic closed captions to Facebook Live and Workplace Live to help people with hearing disabilities. As of now, the company already provides automatic closed captioning for on demand videos in as many as 16 languages and has also announced similar capabilities for IGTV. The company revealed that on Facebook Live, automatic captions will support six languages. The six languages are: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French.
The company revealed that this new feature uses AI based automated speech recognition (ASR). The company accepted the fact that it is challenging for the AI system to recognize every single word spoken during live streams.
The company said “People don’t always naturally speak clearly or wait their turn to speak (during live streams). Unpredictable background noise, the large variety of accents and dialects, and the wide range of tones that influence human speech make ASR even harder.”
It seems that the company is looking forward to introduce the new capabilities and improve its ability in the long run. The company very clearly mentioned that the system is “far from perfect”. Facebook said that its researchers are constantly working hard trying to feed more data samples to the system so as to improve the technology going forward but it will take time.
Facebook considers that apart from helping people with hearing disabilities, this new technology will also help broadcasters and creators get their word out to a wider audience. It seems that the company is in a hurry in launching this feature because it wants to get more users. It is expected that a lot of people with hearing disabilities will try to switch on to Facebook Live programs to get hold of the latest real time news and information. Especially, in the time of a crisis like a global pandemic, this feature will be of great use.