Big news in the world of TikTok — the video platform has officially rolled out auto captions, allowing users who are deaf and hard of hearing to consume content more easily. The new tool will automatically generate subtitles from recorded video onto the screen, giving people the option to read or listen to content as they scroll.
TikTok isn't the only app to adopt auto captions — with transcription technology on the rise, platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Google Chrome have all jumped on board too. Instagram is also beta testing subtitles for its Stories and already offers captions for Reels and IGTV. The tool gives creators the ability to reach a whole new audience of people and is a huge step towards inclusivity on social media.
How Do Auto Captions Work on TikTok?
When a creator is on the editing page after uploading or recording a video, they can select auto captions so that audio is transcribed onto their video. If for some reason the transcribed text contains mistakes, creators have the option to edit the caption before the video goes live. Currently, captions are only available in American English and Japanese, with more languages to come "in the coming months."
Do I Have to Have Auto Captions on My TikTok Videos?
No, captions are not required on your TikTok videos and can be removed by opening the share panel and tapping the captions button to "off." However, TikTok is encouraging creators to use captions to make their community more accessible. Not to mention, videos historically receive more views with subtitles, so if you're looking to expand your reach, captions are a great option.
What Other Accessibility Features Does TikTok Have?
Captions are not TikTok's only accessibility feature — the app also offers text-to-speech, a photosensitivity feature that allows users to skip photosensitive content, as well as a creator warning, which lets creators know when they produce videos with effects that could trigger photosensitive epilepsy.