HOW TO ADD CLOSED CAPTIONS TO YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEO
‘Closed captions’ are subtitles that appear on screen as a video is playing,
providing a text representation of the audio content of a video. They are called
‘closed captions’ because they can be turned on and off.
Captioning your video helps meet W3C accessibility guidelines by allowing users
with hearing impairments to access the audio content of the video.
It also helps users who have no audio playback hardware, mobile users sited in a
quiet area (such as a library), those learning to speak a non-native language, or
in an environment when the audio is difficult to make out.
Captions can also be used by viewers who want to read a transcript along with
the program audio.
ADDING YOUR CAPTIONS
There are two major stages to adding closed captions to any YouTube video:
A. CREATING THE TRANSCRIPT
B. ADDING TIMECODES, THEN TEXT ON-SCREEN SYNCS WITH AUDIO
These are the stages that you have to go through to get properly time-coded
captions that link exactly to what is being said. It’s a simple process that takes a
bit of time, but is easy to complete.
As a very rough rule of thumb, it takes 30-45 minutes to transcribe a 3-minute
video into a text editor. However, you may be faster or slower than this!
A. CREATE THE TRANSCRIPT
1. Watch the video and create a transcription in Word (this is the most time
consuming bit: it will take about 10 or 15 minutes per minute of video, depending
on how fast they speak and how fast/accurate your typing is)
2. Break up the text into about 10 words per line - after the first line you'll be
able to do it roughly by eye - and put a line break in between each one.
3. Save the transcript out as a .txt file, including line breaks. (this comes up in
the plain text saving options box in Word – check the ‘Insert Line Breaks’
checkbox in your dialog – see below).
B. ADD YOUR TIMECODES AND UPLOAD
4. Go to this website (it semi-automates adding the necessary timecodes for
captioning, thus making it much quicker and easier than adding them by hand,
which would be extremely time-consuming):
5. On this website, paste in the YouTube address of your YouTube video when
prompted to do so. Click on the button entitled Next Step (transcript details)
6. Now paste in your text transcript that you created earlier, which is now
broken up into 10-word blocks, roughly.
7. Click on the button that says 'Split into separate caption lines'.
8. On the next screen, you'll see your video and each line of the captioning
9. Press the 'Play' button to the right of the video (NOT the one on the YouTube
video, the button to the right of it). Now, every time a new 'line' of the text
comes up on screen, press the 'a' key to add the caption. This tool will
automatically add the correct timecode, to the correct millisecond. But you have
to be fast and on the ball and press the 'a' key at the right point obviously!
10. Once the video is finished and you've added all your 'a' points for each line of
text, click the 'I'm done adding now' button. This tool will automatically
generate the text along with correct timecodes at the correct points. It will look
something like this (only a lot longer, of course; this is only an extract):
NARRATOR: This short video will introduce you to Viewpoints,
the JISC curriculum design project from the University of Ulster.
There are four strands to the Viewpoints tool suite:
- Assessment and Feedback;
- Information Skills;
- Student Interactions;
10. Copy all the text and timecodes that has been generated and use it to
replace all the text in your transcription .txt file. (I.E. delete all the original text
in the .txt file, and paste in the newly generaged text and timecodes to replace
11. Go into Finder on a Mac (or, if using a PC, Windows Explorer), navigate to
the folder where you’ve saved your transcription, and change the .txt file
extension of this file to .sub (the file extension YouTube needs for proper
12. Now go to YouTube, go to the original video, and click on 'Edit
captions/subtitles' at the top of your video (you will need logged in to do this)
13. Uncheck any available caption tracks that are already there (e.g.
English: Machine Transcription is the default created by Google; uncheck this
selection. You don’t want to use it.)
14. Click on 'Add New Captions or Transcript' button. Browse for your
captioned .sub file that you have just created (under whatever name you gave it
- it MUST have the file extension .sub, though). The type of file in this dialog box
should be Caption file (as this includes correct time codes). Give it a name if
you want (e.g. the name of the video) and hit the Upload File button.
15. View and check your finished closed captions on-screen working with your
video by clicking the CC button in the corner of your video. They should work
If you want to see an example of this working, go to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuX6b4L_AoA and click the red CC button in
the bottom right hand corner of the video.
These closed captions were done using the process above, and the entire process
took about 45 minutes in total. (3:19 minute video)