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Twitter adds captions to voice tweets more than a year after they first launched

Twitter adds captions to voice tweets more than a year after they first launched


Twitter was criticized for launching voice tweets without captions

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Captions on a voice tweet.
Captions on a voice tweet.
Image: Twitter

Twitter is now rolling out captions for voice tweets, the company announced Thursday. Twitter first launched voice tweets in June 2020, but they were quickly criticized at the time by accessibility advocates for not having captions.

Now, when you make a voice tweet (something you can only do on the iOS app right now), captions will be automatically generated in supported languages, which are English, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Arabic, Hindi, French, Indonesian, Korean, and Italian. However, Twitter notes that since it uses your device’s language settings as the basis for the transcription, the feature won’t work accurately if your device is set to one language but you’re speaking in another.

To see the captions on a tweet, you can click or tap the CC icon in the top-right corner of the voice tweet window. Captions only appear on new voice tweets, Twitter tells The Verge, so you won’t see them on older ones.

Below is a screenshot of what the captions and the CC icon look like on the web, taken from a voice tweet that I made while writing this article:

You can also try to listen to my voice tweet here and follow along with the captions, though I will warn you that my tweets eventually auto delete. If you’re reading this article a little while after it was published, the voice tweet might be gone.

When voice tweets launched, it also came to light that there wasn’t a dedicated team at Twitter for accessibility at the time — instead, employees had to volunteer their own time for accessibility work. The company has since fixed that, announcing that it had formed teams to focus on accessibility in September.

“As part of our ongoing work to make Twitter accessible for everyone, we’re rolling out automated captions for Voice Tweets to iOS,” Twitter’s head of global accessibility Gurpreet Kaur said in a statement. “Though it’s still early and we know it won’t be perfect at first, it’s one of many steps we’re taking to expand and strengthen accessibility across our service, and we look forward to continuing our journey to create a truly inclusive service.”

Twitter also offers captions in Twitter Spaces, its Clubhouse-like social audio rooms.

Update: July 16th, 1:50PM ET: Clarifies how device language settings are used for the transcription feature