How to Add Subtitles to a YouTube Video

How to add subtitles to a YouTube video

YouTube is the world's biggest online video platform, with more than 2.56 billion users and approximately 75 billion monthly visits to its website worldwide.

Adding subtitles to your YouTube videos makes your video content accessible for as many of these viewers as possible, including speakers of other languages, individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing, and even those watching on the go.

In this guide we'll walk you through how to add subtitles to a YouTube video quickly and easily, to help you reach the widest possible audience.

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Why add subtitles to your YouTube videos?

  • Accessibility

Subtitles make your YouTube videos more accessible for viewers who might be deaf or hard of hearing. Learn more about how to make your video content more accessible.

  • Global reach

Given how popular YouTube is on a worldwide scale, it makes sense to tap into that global audience. Adding subtitles to your videos can help to increase your reach by making it possible for speakers of other languages to watch and understand your content.

  • SEO

By adding subtitles to your YouTube videos, you'll be able to target relevant keywords and boost your search rankings not only on YouTube itself but on Google too. Appearing higher on the results page can lead to more traffic.

  • Users on the go

Subtitles make it easier for viewers to watch your videos on the go, which can boost your traffic and increase the number of views your YouTube videos receive.

  • Younger audiences

Subtitles are becoming more and more popular among young people - in fact, 80% of 18-25 year olds now use subtitles all or some of the time. By adding subtitles to your YouTube videos, you'll make your video content more appealing to this demographic.

How to add captions and subtitles using YouTube's automatic captioning feature

YouTube has an automatic captioning feature which you can use to automatically generate and add captions to your videos. It's a free service, however even YouTube itself warns that the quality and accuracy of the captions can vary and encourages users to add professional captions first.

Automatic subtitling in YouTube isn't available for every video (see the FAQ section towards the end of this blog post for more information), and the service only supports around a dozen languages.

To use YouTube's automatic captioning feature:

1. Sign in to YouTube Studio

2. From the left menu, select Subtitles

3. Click the video that you want to add captions or subtitles to

4. Under Subtitles, click 'More'

5. Edit or remove any parts that haven't been properly transcribed

How to add subtitles to a YouTube video manually with Transcribe

If you want to make videos with accurate and professional subtitles for your viewers, consider using Transcribe. Our AI-powered video transcription software provides you with incredibly fast, high-quality subtitle files, and as well as being quick and cost-efficient, Transcribe supports more than 120 languages and dialects!

First you'll need to get a transcription of your YouTube video - this will become your subtitle file. Then you'll upload it to YouTube.

Getting your subtitle file

To get started, you'll need to download your video from YouTube (or if you have it downloaded already, you're good to go). Then when you're ready, follow these steps to get a transcript of your YouTube video:

1. Download the Transcribe app or launch the online editor

2. Upload your YouTube video

Import your video from your phone or computer.

3. Choose your language

Select the language of your YouTube video from more than 120 languages and dialects.

4. Start the transcription process

You won't be waiting long - your transcription will be ready in a matter of minutes!

5. Proofread and polish the text

You can do this in the app, online, or in your preferred file format. At this point you might also wish to add extra information for your captions, such as background noises, speaker differentiation, and other audio cues.

6. Export your video in SRT

SRT is a file format made up of time coding and plain text which is specifically for captions and subtitles.

Subtitle file sorted, now to upload it alongside your YouTube video...

Uploading your subtitle file to YouTube

1. Sign in or sign up to YouTube

2. Upload or open your chosen video, and navigate to Subtitles/CC

3. Select your language

4. Under subtitles, click Add

5. Click to upload your subtitle file

6. When ready, save your video

Et voila! Your subtitles will now be available for anyone watching your YouTube video.

YouTube subtitling FAQs

Why are subtitles not showing on YouTube?

If YouTube isn't showing subtitles on your video during playback, it might be because automatic captioning is not available for this video. This could be due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • The captions aren't available yet due to processing complex audio in the video

  • Automatic captions don't support the language in the video

  • The video is too long

  • The video has poor sound quality or YouTube doesn't recognize the speech

  • There's a long period of silence at the beginning of the video

  • There are multiple speakers whose speech overlaps or multiple languages at the same time

To resolve this, manually add captions using the method explained earlier.

How do you add subtitles to other people's YouTube videos?

1. Go to the video that you'd like to watch

2. If closed captions are available, a CC button will be visible on the bottom right of the video player

3. To turn on Captions, click the CC button

If subtitles are not available (if the CC button is not visible), it could be because automatic captioning is not available for this video. Why not leave the video owner a message to ask them to add subtitles manually?

How do you download YouTube subtitles?

If you want to download subtitles from your own YouTube videos, here's how:

1. Sign in to YouTube, open your chosen video, and navigate to Subtitles/CC

2. Under subtitles, hover and click 'Options' (the three vertical dots)

3. Click 'Download', choose your preferred export format, and that's it!

If you want to download a copy of YouTube's automatically generated subtitles from someone else's video, you can do so by following these steps:

1. Navigate to your chosen video on YouTube.

2. Click the three dots (...) below the video. This will display a pop-up menu.

3. Click 'Open transcript' and a window will open displaying the transcript.

4. Highlight and copy the entire transcript text, then paste it into your preferred text editor (like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or Notepad).

5. Save the file - and that's it!

Ready to add subtitles to your YouTube videos?

You should now have a good idea of how to add subtitles to your YouTube videos, and your video content will soon be more accessible for a wide range of viewers.

Check out our guide on how to add subtitles to videos for more tips and assistance. Alternatively, download the Transcribe app or launch the online editor to get started!

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