In September of 2020, YouTube discontinued the “Community Captions” feature that allowed viewers to add high-quality captions for their favorite content creators’ videos. At the time, YouTube cited under-utilization and abuse as the main reasons for ending this program. This, of course, didn’t go well with the community, especially for those that are deaf or hard of hearing or those that speak a different language.
Fast forward to 2022, and YouTube is providing an alternative by announcing a new role called “Subtitle Editor,” which allows channel owners to assign someone else limited access to their channel to help add captions. This role can be managed within channel permissions by inviting trusted users. Below is YouTube’s explanation of how to use this feature:
When adding access to your channel through Channel Permissions, you’ll now see a role for “Subtitle Editor” where you can invite users to access the subtitle editing features within YouTube Studio. Full steps to invite here. Once the subtitle editor has accepted their invite, they’ll be given access to Studio where they will see a list of videos eligible for captioning. Subtitle Editors will be able to type out subtitles manually, edit automatically generated captions (when applicable), or upload subtitle and caption files.
Though this role only grants them access to the “Subtitles” tab in Studio and only access to add captions to videos set as Public or Unlisted with a default language set, YouTube advises only inviting people you know and trust since, as the channel owner, you will be taking full responsibility for what your subtitle editors do. Still, you will also have access to edit or delete any newly added or existing captions.
This new feature is a welcome addition to YouTube, although in my opinion, not a full replacement for the old “Community Captions.” It remains to be seen how the YouTube community will make use of it and whether it will stick around for the long run. However, I can see this being an extremely helpful accessibility tool and one that should be taken advantage of.