YouTube’s auto-transcription needs work

Many science songs posted to YouTube (and other sites) don’t come with lyrics in text format, which renders these songs all but invisible to users of our database. Unless someone searches for a keyword that is in the song’s title, or searches for the specific artist who did the song, the song remains undiscovered.

I just noticed that YouTube now offers auto-transcription of many videos. Could this help us harvest previously unavailable lyrics?

Well … yes and no. YouTube does attempt to auto-transcribe lyrics from some music videos. However, its interpretations of those lyrics are reminiscent of the autocompletion guesses of a so-called “smartphone.”

As an example, let’s take Glenn Wolkenfeld’s Electron Transport Chain song, released last month. Here are the first two verses, according to Glenn.

Welcome to this story about cell energy
The goal is explaining how cells make ATP
It happens in the mitochondria which you can think of
As the cell’s energy factory

Mitochondria are double-membraned organelles,
An inner membrane and an outer one as well
The mitochondrial matrix is the fluid inside
It’s where reactions like Krebs cycle reside

And here they are according to YouTube’s auto-transcription.

welcome to the story about self-energy
called with explaining how cells make ATP
it happens in the bayou country which pick it
as a self going to back to work

by the country are couple members organelles
any demand plane however one as well
the mitochondrial matrix is the food inside
three reactors like Rip Micheals

I love that ATP production is said to occur “in the Bayou country.” It’s also interesting that comedian/actor Rip Micheals is involved somehow.

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