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How to add subtitles to YouTube videos

Purpose

This article is designed to assist users through the process of adding subtitles to YouTube videos—both to videos users create and to videos created by others.

Closed captions and subtitles are a necessary component to the process of making content more accessible to people with auditory disabilities, visual disabilities, second-language learners, and/or visual learners among the population.

Prerequisites

In order to create or submit subtitles, you will first need the following:

  • YouTube account
  • Compatible video files (MP4 is recommended)

Creating subtitles for your own video

The process is fairly straight-forward and there are a few steps in the process.

Step 1: Upload a video to YouTube

Click on the Upload icon on the upper-right corner of the page then select the video file you wish to upload. Once the video is uploaded, subtitles can be added.

Click the Browse button or drag-and-drop the desired media file to the upload box.

Step 2: View the video the Video Manager to add Subtitles or closed captions (CC)

Once the video is uploaded, go back to the Video Manager and click on the Subtitles/CC tab along the top of the page above the video box. This screen can also be accessed by viewing the video, clicking on the Settings menu > Subtitles/CC > Add new Subtitles/CC to proceed.

Click Done to finish the upload then go to the Video Manager to add subtitles or closed captions

You can contribute subtitles to videos as well, click here for more information.

Step 3: Transcribe the subtitles into the video

Subtitles can be added to the video from this screen. Once added, how they appear can be edited to fit as desired.

1. Add the subtitles, 2. Adjust the timing of when the subtitles appear by clicking and dragging the bounding boxes in correspondence with the video timeline, 3. Save changes when complete.

  1. You can add subtitles to the Subtitle field then press Enter to add.
  2. You can adjust when the subtitle will appear by clicking on it then dragging the bounding box to the appropriate length based on the overall video timeline.
  3. Once all changes are made, click Save Changes to finish.

Note: Submitted subtitles cannot be edited once saved. You will have either delete the submitted subtitles.

A completed example

The video linked below is an example of how a video will look with subtitles added. Viewers can click the CC button on the player in the bottom-right corner to view them.

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