Adding Subtitles to Your YouTube Videos

This week’s blog goes hand-in-hand with Liz’s Tuesday Tips (Accessibility). I’ve been working on a lot of videos lately, and then uploading them to the CAPE’s YouTube channel. In doing so, I have had to add closed captioning to each one. Luckily these video clips are short and can be transcribed quickly. If you want to reach a wider audience, it’s imperative that you have closed captioning. It’s also mandated if you use it for instruction. So, the big question is, how can I add subtitles to my video I upload to YouTube? I’m glad you asked, and I have an answer for you. I will present you with one way to add closed captioned text, but there are other ways to do this also (which will be addressed in future blogs).

PLEASE NOTE: With this demonstration, I am working with the assumption that you have already set up a YouTube channel, and know how to upload videos, etc. I tell you what… I think I have my topic for next week’s blog. So bear with me as I do this process out of order. I promise I will go back and provide the information you need. Something else: in this blog my focus is adding the closed captioning by way of transcribing (or providing a transcription) to your video. Sometimes YouTube can decipher the speech in the video and provide you a transcript, but that depends on many things (clarity of the speaker, avoidance of slang terms, etc.).

OK, let’s get back to today’s topic. I’ll start out at the CAPE’s YouTube Channel Page. Click on the heading labeled “File Manager” at top of screen, right above profile background (see screen shot below).



From there YouTube will take you to a full listing of all your videos, with various options available to you when you select the “Edit” drop down menu.


Select “Subtitles & CC.”

Click on blue bar labeled “Add new subtitles or CC.”


Click on your preferred language. It defaults to English.


Of the three options given, we will now choose the center one, “Transcribe and auto-sync.”


This will open this page.


You can either type in the text, or copy-and-paste it, into the text window. Click on “Set timings,” and let YouTube work some magic for you.


Once it has finished, click on the bar labeled “English (setting timings…)” under “MY DRAFTS.”


This page will now appear. On the left side of the screen you can see the text broken up into timing blocks which match up with the video. If there need to be any corrections, you will make them in these blocks. On the right is your video, with the audio and closed captioning tracks beneath it.


Generally YouTube is good about matching where the closed captioning begins and ends for each spoken portion. However, there are times when you need to adjust the timing on the time scale. To do this, just click on the edge of a text block (it will turn blue when active), and drag the text box edge to the appropriate time along the timeline (as shown below).


Once you have lined it all up, and you are happy with it, click on the blue “Publish” button.


YouTube should then let you know that it worked with the simple announcement “Subtitles published.”


And that’s it! It’s really that easy. If you have any questions about this blog’s subject, or anything else really, use the link below to send me an email.

Steve Holsonback
Instructional Media Design Specialist
Center for Academic & Professional Excellence
Ext. 3425



One comment

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