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How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos

Michael Maher

When you add subtitles to YouTube videos, your audience benefits and your video ranks higher. Follow these steps to add subtitles and closed captions.

Having subtitles in your videos actually helps you more than you may think. Subtitles are traditionally used for viewers that are deaf, hard of hearing, or who speak other languages. One of the major benefits of YouTube subtitles is that they act as metadata. Here’s what all of this means for you.


Metadata, Video Ranking, and Translations

With YouTube’s global reach, it’s easy to forget that people all over the world will be watching your videos. You can actually cater to your foreign audiences by adding subtitles and closed captions to your videos.

You don’t have to know multiple languages to reach your foreign viewers. YouTube will automatically send your caption file to Google Translate. Your foreign audience will be able to select the ‘translate captions’ option and immediately enjoy your video.

Once verified, subtitles and closed captions will be indexed by YouTube to act as metadata. This means your video will be easier to find via searches. This has the potential to increase your viewership and benefit your overall rank.


How to Add Subtitles or Closed Captions to YouTube Videos

Here are the steps you need to follow to add subtitles or closed captions:

  1. Go to the YouTube Video Manager
  2. Find the video you want to add subtitles to, click the drop-down menu next to the Edit button
  3. Click Subtitles and CC

    YouTube Subtitles Step 1

  4. In the drop-down menu, click Select language and choose the primary spoken language

    YouTube Subtitles Step 2

  5. Click Add subtitles or CC
  6. Choose the language for the subtitles or closed captions. (Use the search bar to find languages that don’t automatically appear)

    YouTube Subtitles Step 3

  7. Choose how to add subtitles or CC: Upload a File, Transcribe and auto-sync, Create new subtitles or CC

    YouTube Gif 4-1

Create New Subtitles or Closed Captions

  1. Select Create new subtitles or CC.
  2. Play the video. When the first words (or music) are spoken – pause the video.
  3. Type the subtitles into “Type subtitle here and press Enter” box.
  4. Click the add button.
  5. Repeat this process for all the spoken words in the video.
  6. Click Submit when you have finished.

Transcribe and Auto-Sync

You can line up your text with the speech in the video.

  1. Select Create new subtitles or CC.
  2. Click Transcribe and auto-sync.
  3. Type the subtitles in the text field.
  4. Click Set timings to sync.

Upload a File

If you have a subtitle or closed caption file, you can simply upload it. These types of files should contain the text and time codes for when each line of text should be displayed.

  1. Click Upload a file.
  2. Choose the type of file you have to upload.
  3. Click Choose file > Upload.
  4. Use the editor to make any needed adjustments to the text and timing of your new subtitle or closed caption.
  5. Click Publish.

Want to know more about subtitles? Let us know in the comments below.

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