Subtitles and Closed Captions

YouTube is a global platform that reaches billions of people worldwide, so it’s likely part of your audience speaks a different language than you. Adding closed captions (CC) and subtitles to your videos can help your content appeal globally – including viewers with hearing impairments or foreign language speakers. Not only do they make your videos more accessible, they can also be indexed by YouTube and act as additional metadata to help your video get discovered more often!

Did you know that 60% of YouTube’s audience are foreign language speakers and hearing-impaired viewers!

Connect with Closed Captions

Closed captions are written in the same language as the audio in a video. You can upload your own or YouTube can help you create them. Here are your options:

  • Use YouTube’s transcribe and sync tool to write your own or create one from a transcript. Type in the box or copy/paste your video’s transcript into the tool and click the sync button.
  • Amend YouTube’s auto-captions with the in-line editor. When a viewer turns on captions, this is the default tool that will display. That means it’s important to double check and edit the captions to ensure accuracy.

When you’re done adding captions, publish them in the Captions Tab so your audience sees the correct captions track when they turn on closed captions.


YouTube subtitles are written in different languages than the audio in a video. If you plan on creating subtitles, it’s a good idea to check the demographics report in YouTube Analytics to identify where in the world your global audience lives. Also, think strategically, and try to figure out where your content might be a good fit culturally.

Once you’ve decided which languages to focus on, you can take one of the following steps:

  • Automatic translation: YouTube and Google Translate work together to translate for viewers if you upload a caption file to YouTube. For example, if English-speaking viewers turn captions on to watch a video spoken in Spanish, YouTube will offer to translate the Spanish captions into English subtitles. (*The accuracy of this method varies.)
  • Translate your videos yourself.
  • Ask your community to help you translate your video’s subtitles.

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
  4. In the drop-down menu, click Select language and choose the primary spoken language
  5. Click Add subtitles or CC
  6. Choose the language for the subtitles or closed captions
  7. Choose how to add subtitles or CC: Upload a File, Transcribe and auto sync, Create new subtitles or CC

After you add closed captions and subtitles, be sure to let your audience know they’re available!

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Amplify Your Audience with YouTube Subtitles & Closed Captions

Category: BBTV Blog

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