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How to Put Subtitles on Your YouTube Videos

Subtitles and closed captions not only make your content more accessible but can also help you improve your video ranking and traffic. In this article, we'll examine why captions matter and we'll show you the best way to display subtitles and closed captions on your YouTube videos.

Why put subtitles and closed captions on your YouTube videos?

Subtitles will make your YouTube videos more widely accessible for a larger audience. They improve the clarity of your video content and it will help viewers with hearing difficulties or people who are not native speakers of your preferred language understand the message your video is trying to convey.

YouTube videos with subtitles also send positive ranking juice to YouTube’s algorithm. This helps get your videos in front of your target audiences. Oftentimes, if you have high-quality content, YouTube will suggest your videos to more viewers. As a result, you may increase views and subscribers.

Having a subtitle helps YouTube match the keywords and content with the search terms that people are using when they are looking for content on YouTube. On average, videos with captions have more watch hours compared to those that don’t have them.

What’s more, Google is using the same method to suggest certain sections of the videos that match a specific search query. Imagine that! Having a subtitle and a transcript of your content has the potential to reach a massive audience because your video can appear as a snippet with timestamps on the Google search engine results page (SERP)

So, whether you’re a business or a vlogger, you can benefit from putting subtitles, closed captions, and transcripts on your YouTube videos.

How to Put Subtitles on your YouTube videos

1. YouTube Automatically Generated Captions

There’s actually an auto-caption feature wherein YouTube creates an automatically generated transcription of your video with spoken content. It’s easy to use and it’s free! You don’t have to transcribe it yourself.

Sounds great, right?

Well, yes and no. Yes, because it takes the bulk of the transcription work out of your hand. The downside is that it’s not very accurate. In fact, some of the auto-generated transcripts contain misheard words that are sometimes inappropriate. The results can be hilarious and good for a few laughs. However, they can be distracting to the viewer and your message can be lost in AI translation.

But don’t worry, it’s something that can be fixed. You can manually edit the captions and fix the issues before you publish the final video. This works if you have the time and the resources. Since this process is incredibly time consuming, we can help you in proofreading and reviewing auto-generated transcription.

2. Captions Editor in YouTube Studio

YouTube content creators are familiar with the Captions Editor in YouTube Studio. This feature makes it easier for creators to create and edit captions using the built-in Captions Editor.

You can use this awesome tool while uploading your video or once your video has already been uploaded and published. Either way is fine, so just use the method that’s easier for you.

How to Get to Captions Editor

1. If you’re uploading a video, go to the Video Elements page and look for the Subtitles section. Click on Add.

2. If you want to add captions to videos that you have already uploaded, go to YouTube Studio and click on the Subtitles on the left-hand menu. Alternatively, you can go to the specific video’s details page.

Steps on How to Manually Add Captions

1. Go to YouTube Studio.

2. Select Subtitles from the left menu.

3. Click the Video you want to add captions to.

4. Click “Add Language” and select the language you want

5. Under Subtitles, click “Add”.

YouTube gives you 3 options to add subtitles and captions.

a) Upload a transcript file

Choose with timing or without timing. This will allow YouTube to process and sync the file correctly.

Make sure that your transcript file is formatted properly using square brackets for background sounds. For example: [laughter] or [intro music].

Use >> to identify speakers or change of speaker.

Use a blank line to start a new caption.

Save your file in text format (.txt).

For non-English transcript files, it’s recommended to save the file with UTF-8 coding to improve display accuracy.

b) Paste transcript or captions into the editor tool and sync them.

This option allows you to copy and paste the full transcript of your video. Click “Assign Timing” and YouTube will set the subtitle timings automatically.

c) Type out the captions manually as you watch the video.

You can type out the caption in the box if there’s no transcript file available. You can also set the timings. Essentially, you are transcribing as you watch the video. You have the option to “Pause while typing” by ticking the box. You can use this if you need more time to type and fix the captions. With this option, you have control of the formatting and timing.

When you’re done, hit Publish.

If you need help in transcribing your YouTube video or fixing subtitle timings, CONTACT US and we’ll make sure you’ll have accurate subtitles and captions on display.

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