YouTube Captioning

Captioning in YouTube

YouTube offers a an adaptive interface that maximizes the video watching experience by dynamically adjusting streaming depeding on quality of video, connection speed, and device used, among others factors. YouTube videos can also be easily be embedded in websites and the Canvas learning management system to enhace the viewer experience. There many other benefits of using YouTube to host multimedia including the different ways you can add captions.

The Video Manager

Open the YouTube Video Manager. The video manager shows a list of all the videos uploaded to the account as well as editing options. The automatic captions are usually created shortly after the video is processed unless there are long silent pauses at the start of the video or the sound quality is poor.

For instructions to upload videos, see the Uploading to YouTube page.

Captioning method #1 - Edit the automatic captions

  1. Click on the video thumbnail image you wish to caption. This action will direct you to the YouTube Studio beta, a new video-editing environment.
    Studio beta icon
    Some features, such as editing automatic captions or adding your own captions are not yet fully available. If you are taken to the YouTube Studio beta from the Video Manager, select the Creator Studio Classic at the end of the navigation menu.
    Studio Classic link in the Studio beta navigation menu shown at the bottom
  2. On the next screen, video editing tools, select the Subtitles/CC tab and then double-click on the English (Automatic) caption file.
    Edit video tools with the Subtitles-CC tab and English (Automatic) caption file highlighted

    You may be asked once or twice to set the languate. This is required step the first time you use YouTube.
  3. Click on the Edit button to start fixing the existing captions
  4. You can play the video to check for accuracy and as you click in each caption field to edit, the video will stop.  Click the Save changes button when you are done.
    Edit captions interface showing the individual captions and the Save changes button

When finished, it is possible to end up with two caption files, the English (Automatic) or original file and the English edited file. If this is the case, access the the original file, Unpublished it and under Actions, Remove/Delete this version.

For more information, go to the Edit or Remove Captions YouTube Help page.

Captioning method #2 - Add your own captions

If the automatic captions file is not available or if you rather add the all the captions yourself, you can follow one of the following methods:

  • Create subtitles or closed captions
  • Upload a file
  • Transcribe and auto-sync (original language only)

All three options are explained in the Add your own subtitles and closed captions YouTube page.