How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos

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 speak a different language. It can be translated by Google, and expands your reach even further than your native language audience. I find myself sometimes popping on subtitles when I don’t have access to my earbuds in a public spot, or just really want to understand the speaker. So, let’s take a look at how you can add subtitles to your videos, and how they can benefit your channel in the long run.

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.

If you find your videos doing well overseas, you can also translate your description and metadata for those languages. There’s a translation tab on your YouTube Studio page that allows you to target specific languages. Go ahead and use it to translate your titles and descriptions for that audience.

How to Add Subtitles or Closed Captions to YouTube Videos

YouTube Studio has made it incredibly easy to add captions to your videos. It automatically creates subtitles for your video using Google’s voice detection software and integrates it into your video. But, here’s the kicker — it’s usually not exact, and most of the time, it doesn’t include proper punctuation. So, here’s an easy trick to get your subtitles in tip-top shape, without typing it all out.

1. Go to your YouTube Studio page and select the video you’d like to add subtitles to.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Select Video

Begin by selecting your video.

2. Go to the middle of the More Options tab, and you’ll find Subtitles and CC for Original Language.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Subtitles and CC for Original Language

After you go to the “More Options” tab, find “Subtitles and CC for Original Language.”

3. On the bubble that says English for YouTube, select the dots next to it to open up the new prompt where you’ll find three options: Edit on Classic Studio, Download, and Delete.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Edit on Classic Studio

Edit the text directly on YouTube Studio by selecting “Edit on Classic Studio” from the dropdown menu.

The easiest method is editing the text directly on YouTube Studio, so select Edit on Classic Studio from the dropdown menu.

4. This will bring you to the YouTube Studio Subtitles Editor, which makes it incredibly easy to adjust your subtitles.

There, you’ll see all of your automatic subtitles generated by YouTube and their timestamps. In the top right of the window, select Edit to get to work.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — YouTube Studio Subtitles Editor

The YouTube Studio Subtitles Editor makes it easy for you to adjust your subtitles.

5. Select different sections of text automatically separated by YouTube, and play your video.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Edit Text

Begin editing your text for spelling and punctuation. 

From here, you can fix spelling mistakes and add punctuation on the left side of the window.

6. If you want to fix the timing of your subtitles appearing on your video, the bars below the video can be adjusted with your mouse to either lengthen or shorten the blurbs, in order to fix the timing.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Timing

Adjust the bars below the video to fix any timing issues.

7. Use Keyboard Shortcuts to scrub through your video. This is a lot easier to use than trying to scrub through manually with clicks.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Keyboard Shortcuts

Scrub through your video using keyboard shortcuts.

8. When you’re finished, click Publish Edits in the top right corner.

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos — Publish Edits

Make sure you click “Publish Edits” in the top right-hand corner.

Download Your Subtitles for Other Uses

Once you’ve finished uploading your fixed subtitles, you can go back to the subtitles menu, and instead of selecting the Edit on Classic Studio button, select Download. This will give you an .srt file with all of your transcribed audio in a rich text file. If you’re uploading your video on different platforms — such as Facebook or Vimeo — you can use this .srt file to add your enriched subtitles.

Find more on creating video for YouTube with these:

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