What's worse is it appears that YouTube has decided to default all users to "always show captions" as part of the new implementation of auto captions announced here. (link to YouTube blog post).
So, quick user tip, here's how to turn this off* (with screen shot below):
- While logged in to your YouTube account, go to "account" (under your username)
- In "Account Settings" scroll down to "Playback Setup"
- Under "Captions" uncheck the "Always Show Captions" option
- Hit the "Save Changes" button at the bottom
While this may only be a minor annoyance to the individual user, this decision by YouTube really affects content creators who are already using captioning. The Guild has a large international following plus a significant number of deaf or hard of hearing fans who rely on the subtitles. YouTube is great for sharing a show like The Guild worldwide, and because of the hard work of a lot of dedicated fan volunteers, the show is available subtitled in many languages.
However, the decision to set captions on by default without announcing it is effectively blindsiding users and content creators with a change in functionality. While I applaud YouTube for having easy to use captioning capability, and believe the auto-captioning is a really cool development, this poor decision has made captions a sore subject and will potentially annoy many users. The Guild has over 170,000 subscribers on its channel and we're now fielding tons of "why did you turn captions on?!" complaints in comments. What's worse is that if a user is not logged in, the default is also to run captions.
Not cool, YouTube. It would have helped if you had given users a heads up to this.
* Note that as of writing, I've turned this off on my personal account yet YouTube is still serving captions to me.
And, shout out & thanks to @worldofhiglet and @osiramon for replying to me on twitter when I first was trying to figure this out, and to @maxsummers, The Guild's translation coordinator. Also, the amazing and brilliant Gina Trapani mentioned this issue on TWiG (I had emailed her suggesting this as a possible tip of the week).