YouTube adds video chapter previews, auto-translates captions in new search functions


The auto-translation option for captions can help creators reach an even wider global audience.

To make searching for videos on YouTube easier, the company announced two new updates on Tuesday to the way its on-site search function operates.

Timestamp previews and auto-play snippets added to mobile. “These time-stamped images detail the different topics covered in videos and let you better evaluate the video you’re about to watch. You can also jump directly to the section most relevant to your specific interest,” said Pablo Paniagua, director of product management, in the announcement.

YouTube adds video chapter previews, auto-translates captions in new search functions

Video chapters appear below the video preview. Source: YouTube.

YouTube has previously had a short autoplay with captions when desktop users move their mouse over a video to help them know what they’re about to watch. This option allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for (or find a video that does cover the topic you want to learn about). The quick auto-play will also be available on mobile upon scroll.

Auto-translated captions in different languages. “We’re starting to show search results from other languages with automatically translated captions, titles and descriptions when relevant content in the local language isn’t available,” explained Paniagua. This means that language may no longer be a barrier, especially for educational or how-to content on YouTube. The plan to supplement captions will start with English language videos and roll out to other languages.

Why we care. If you want your videos to stand out in YouTube search, adding timestamps will now be critical. This has been a best practice since the video platform added Chapters in May 2020. These helped specific parts of videos show up in Google searches and will now benefit YouTube searches, as well. Similarly, adding transcriptions has always been a benefit to your videos. It helps with accessibility as well as engagement for those who may not be able to turn on their sound. The new translation option gives your videos the opportunity to show up for an even wider global audience than before.

More news about YouTube:

  • Google Ads attribution models now support YouTube and Display
  • Google officially launches SeekToAction for key moments for videos in search
  • Google simplifies YouTube ad creation for SMBs

Carolyn Lyden serves as the Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search, and analytics, she focuses on making marketers’ jobs easier with important news and educational content.

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