Updates to Course Subtitles

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Updates to Course Subtitles

Bella
Community Manager
Community Manager

Based on learner and instructor feedback from the initial rollout of these updates, we wanted to highlight the following changes:

 

  • We are extending the deadline from August 15 to August 25 for re-enabling subtitles. You will also no longer be able to turn off native-language subtitles and captions for Udemy Business courses beginning August 25. If you’re affected by these changes you should receive a reminder email this week. 
  • We will be requiring subtitles or captions for all English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian courses in the Udemy Business content collection. This excludes Japanese, German, and language-learning courses with subtitles or captions.
  • We will no longer be creating auto-generated subtitles for Mandarin courses due to accuracy issues reported by learners. We will also be unpublishing the subtitles already generated for these courses, but you are free to edit and republish them if you think they are sufficient.

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As we move into H2, we’re planning on making changes to the way we manage subtitles and captions on the platform to align closer with our accessibility goals. Historically, we’ve created auto-generated subtitles for all English, Spanish, and Portuguese courses on Udemy. This is because we believe subtitles and captions can make courses easier to comprehend with a larger audience, including learners who speak another language and hearing-impaired learners.

 

At a high level we are building upon what we’re doing today by making the following changes by the end of the year:

  • We plan to expand our auto-generated subtitles to all eligible courses in German, French, Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin by the end of the year.
  • We are investing in an improved auto-generation model to increase the accuracy of transcriptions.
  • We will provide auto-generated subtitles for courses once they reach 20 enrollments in order to prioritize courses with learner engagement.
  • We are requiring subtitles or captions for all courses in the Udemy Business content collection starting August 15th.

 

These changes are intended to help instructors cater to learners of all backgrounds and to move toward a high standard of accessibility for a growing global audience. To learn more about these updates, read on in the Teaching Center.

13 Comments
SebiGloeckner
Level 3
Level 3

Hi @Bella thank you for the update, that is a great thing!

 

Regarding the new UFB requirement - I have to do nothing, correct? Subtitles will be mandatory and you guys will create them so there is no to do for me, yes?

 

One more question: Maybe your subtitles are better than the ones I uploaded already (because I did them with another software for example). Can I / should I delete my own subtitles for that purpose?

 

Thank you and kind regards

Sebastian

AHardin
Level 3
Level 3

Hi @Bella is Udemy considering using instructor-uploaded subtitle .vtt files to transcribe subtitles into other languages?

MichaelPog
Level 3
Level 3

This is great news @Bella.

Any plans to expand the auto translation to foreign languages?

SandeepKumar
Level 3
Level 3

@Bella, just like many other instructors, I get my autogenerated captions reviewed and corrected.

My question: When I uploaded the corrected version of English captions, do the other language captions automatically get updated (translated) based on the better version of the English captions (that I uploaded)?

Bella
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @SebiGloeckner, great questions! I have reached out to the team and they confirmed that no immediate action needs to be taken from instructors, however, we will be re-enabling the subtitles or captions that were previously disabled, so if there are concerns regarding that version, we would suggest reviewing the subtitles and editing or resetting to the auto-generated captions in our caption editing tool.

 

I hope this helps!

 

Bella Almeida

Udemy Community 

Bella
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hello @AHardin and @MichaelPog, thanks for your questions! 

 

We are using the instructor-uploaded .vtt files first, and then the auto one if a manually uploaded one doesn't exist.

 

As a part of this initiative to make Udemy as accessible to as many people as possible, we are evaluating our current translation system and hoping to make improvements in the future. We’ll keep you posted on the changes we make to our translation system once we know more!

 

Bella Almeida

Udemy Community 

AHardin
Level 3
Level 3

Thanks @Bella for confirming that. Good to know it'll use uploaded .vtt files first.

DiogoAlvesd487
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

@Bella , I think it is great that the subtitles are being expanded and improved. Could you explain the following?

 

We will provide auto-generated subtitles for courses once they reach 20 enrollments in order to prioritize courses with learner engagement.

 

Is this a cost-cutting measure? I imagine that for new instructors, it does take a while to reach 20 enrollments.

FrankKane
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Will existing auto-transcribed subtitles be re-processed with the new "improved auto-generation model"?

(I hope so!)

 

Great news. Accuracy of transcriptions is a very important factor for my course, I have seen many learners leave a bad review just because of the quality of transcriptions. 

Question - once this is launched, will it automatically update the existing course transcriptions?

TomOphir
Level 3
Level 3

"We are investing in an improved auto-generation model to increase the accuracy of transcriptions."

That would be great!! 🙂 

Bella
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @DiogoAlvesd487, to clarify, this was not a cost-cutting measure. We decided to focus on quality over quantity by moving to an improved auto-generation model and expanding languages. Note that instructors will still be able to add subtitles or captions at any time if they wish to.

 

Bella Almeida

Udemy Community 

RobinHills
Level 3
Level 3

There has been a marked improvement in the quality of the auto-generated captions in my courses recently.  This has made correcting them so much easier. 

 

I am pleased to see that Udemy Business will be requiring subtitles or captions for all English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian courses in the Udemy Business content collection. 

 

No AI system is perfect so I make a point of reviewing and correcting all the captions in my courses.   The sentences often don't start in the right place, technical terms and people's names are often incorrect, and negatives can be transcribed into positives (don't into do, isn't into is, etc.) are a few examples.  

 

It is a HUGE job initially, but it doesn't take long per video and is so much more valuable to learners whose first language is not English and for the hard of hearing.  Being moderately deaf myself, I know how much I appreciate it when the instructor makes the effort to correct the captions.