Updates to course subtitles

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Update: We’ve made edits to our original post to provide clarity and incorporate feedback and changes after our initial rollout.


At Udemy, we are committed to helping instructors teach learners of all backgrounds around the world. One way we hoped to achieve this was to introduce auto-generated subtitles and caption-editing tools for Udemy courses in 2017. Since then, the number of courses on our marketplace has quadrupled, and we’ve grown to serve over 52 million learners worldwide. To keep up with this expansion and to help achieve our accessibility goals, we are making updates to our subtitles and captions strategy.


Captions and subtitles can make courses easier to comprehend with a larger audience, including learners who speak another language and hearing-impaired learners. Plus, they offer more clarity and reinforce learning for all students.


Today, we’re announcing three upcoming changes intended to help instructors cater to learners and to ensure a high standard of accessibility for a growing global audience.


1. We’re expanding to new languages and improving our auto-generated subtitles.

Historically, we’ve created auto-generated subtitles for all English, Spanish, and Portuguese courses on Udemy. Moving forward, we plan on expanding our auto-generated subtitles to eligible courses in German, French, Italian, and Japanese by the end of 2022. We are also investing in an improved auto-generation model for our transcriptions starting in August 2022.


2. We’re focusing on providing auto-generated subtitles for courses with learner engagement.

Prior to August 2022, we’ve provided auto-generated subtitles at the time of course publication. To improve the efficiency of our model, we’ll be changing our policy to generate subtitles once a course reaches 20 enrollments. Instructors will still be able to add subtitles or captions at any time.


3. We’re requiring subtitles or captions for all courses in the Udemy Business content collection.

Finally, to align with our Udemy Business customers’ accessibility expectations, we will be requiring subtitles or captions for courses within the collection. On August 25, 2022, we will be re-enabling subtitles for all English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian courses in the Udemy Business collection. This excludes any language-learning courses. Instructors will also no longer be able to turn off native-language subtitles and captions for Udemy Business courses in those languages. Instructors should receive a reminder email if at least one of their courses will have their subtitles re-enabled.


As a best practice, we also encourage instructors to create captions for their courses and check in on how to make their content as accessible as possible. This is one way we’re hoping to improve accessibility at Udemy, and we will continue to invest, develop, and strive to make learning available to help students achieve whatever comes next.

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