Captioning - Creating Captions in YouTube from Scratch

Last Updated: 08/16/2017
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This tutorial is operating system independent.


This tutorial assumes that you have uploaded the video to your YouTube channel and that you do not already have a written transcript of the audio from your video. If you have an .srt file that you need to synchronize with your video, use the Adding Caption Files to YouTube Videos tutorial. If you already have a transcription prepared as a .txt file, use the Making Captions from Transcripts in YouTube tutorial.

*Note: Refer to the Captioning Best Practices Checklist for guidance when creating your own captions.

Step 1

After your video has already been uploaded to your YouTube channel, go to your Video Manager

Step 2

Click on the drop-down list next to the Edit button for your video, and select Subtitles & CC.

Step 3

On your video page, click the button that says Add new subtitles or CC, and select the language that your subtitles are written in from the drop down menu.

Step 4

Click Transcribe and auto-sync in the pop up window.

Step 5

You are now on a page where you can edit the transcript. Listen through the video and type everything you hear. (Excessive ‘uh’s and ‘um’s are excludable.) Click the button that says Set timings. This may take a few minutes.

Step 6

To edit the content of the captions, select the caption you'd like to edit left of the video and start typing.

Step 7

You can adjust the start and end times of each caption at the bottom of the screen by clicking & dragging on the edges of the white boxes. The audio signal is shown in grey behind the white text boxes to help find where the audio begins and ends. Hit Shift-Enter to add a line break; you should have no more than 2 lines of text in your captions. Try to split up your captions by complete phrases.

Step 8

When finished, click Publish in the top right corner to finalize the captions.

Step 9

Now you can go to your video to make sure that the white CC button appears in the bottom-right corner of the player, and that your captions appear when you click on it.

Step 10

If you have captions in multiple languages, you can switch between them by clicking on the Settings gear icon in the bottom right corner of the player, and clicking on Subtitles / CC.

Step 11

If you need to edit your captions further, you can click on the caption file from the Manage Subtitles and Closed Captions screen. When you get back to the caption editing screen, it will be all greyed out, and you need to unpublish the file before you can edit it.

Step 12

If you need to export a caption file to add to Kaltura or Vimeo or another media-hosting site, you can download an SRT file from the caption editing screen by opening the Actions drop down menu and under Download selecting .SRT.