TikTok is adding automatic subtitles to videos

tiktok subtitles

Image: TikTok via ETX Daily Up

TikTok now offers automatic subtitling of videos. This new feature, for the moment reserved to a few users, promises more accessibility for deaf or hard of hearing people to enjoy the application.

“Inclusivity is important because when people feel included, they’re more comfortable expressing themselves and engaging with their community,” explains TikTok. The Chinese platform is asserting the importance of captioning by launching its new feature: auto captions. From now on, creators will be able to automatically generate the text spoken in their video and modify the content as needed by editing their video on the app.


The function is only available in American English and Japanese for the moment. TikTok said that other languages will be offered in the coming months. While this option is convenient for users who are hard of hearing, users without hearing problems will be able to disable subtitles in the “Share” panel of the video.

The success of subtitling

On TikTok, subtitles have already been widely used by creators via the text function in the video editor. For some, the objective is to make their content accessible to the hearing-impaired, while others take advantage of this trend to improve their chances of being proposed by the algorithm. The Chinese platform tends to propose videos containing text in the “For You” feed, which selects content according to the user’s profile.

“We’re currently undertaking an accessibility assessment to identify additional areas for improvement, and we’re increasing our outreach to organizations and communities with disabilities on TikTok to uplift their voices and make changes that better serve us all,” TikTok asserts.

Subtitles allow all users to continue watching a video without having to put the sound on, and thus spend more time on the application.

TikTok launched a “text to speech” function in December 2020. A useful option for blind and visually impaired users that allows in this case to convert text into audio using a synthetic voice. JB


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