Contribute Subtitles and Closed Captions to YouTube Vidoes

Contribute subtitles and closed captions to YouTube Channels


Some channels let you contribute subtitles and closed captions to their videos. They’re viewable on the video by clicking on the [CC] icon in the player. Approved content is owned by the video owner.
Read more on YT Support

Video Owners:

  • Go to Video Manager
  • Click Edit Video
  • Subtitles And CC Tab
  • Turn ‘Allow Community Contributions’ on

I’m told you get to review them. If anyone allows this on a video, let me know and we’ll try it out.


Downloading YouTube Subtitles

I received a question about downloaded youtube videos with the captions included.

I’ve never downloaded them together, but here’s what I do:
1. Download the video, either through youtube links or I use “Video Download Helper” add on for Firefox.
2. Get the subtitles using the video id: ex. Tommy Interviews Yahoo
3. Play them with VLC and choose the subtitle file

How to Start Adding Captions/Subtitles to Online Videos

[this piece will probably undergo refinements before become a real page:]

I was talking to someone today who wanted to start captioning their videos.
This seemed like a good use of a volunteer, so I gave them some starting out info.

The Two Easiest Ways to start CC online:
Both subtitling sites are able to add subtitles to common video formats, and are both able to export the caption files for import into youtube. Neither one, however, embeds nicely into the hosted version of WordPress. (work on that, Matt?) [edit] The dotSUB version is embeddable through VodPod video collection.

Universal Subtitles

Embedded sample:
Tutorials: They have training videos that are shown as you along step by step.

Easy/Fun – once you have the words in, the timing is like playing Rock Band.
Allows importing of a written transcript -then you are just setting the timing, not typing. *
Cons: Harder to fine tune.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Embedded Sample:

Hosts a copy of the videos (good for stability)
Adjust Accuracy within 1000ths of a second

No way to import a transcript

Important Reading:
The DCMP article contains the best overview of online captioning, and includes captioning guidelines, good to read if you are just captioning “talking head” videos, and a more detailed Captioning Key with information on how to convey more complex information.

* Bonus Article: Importing transcripts into universal subs:
You can create a transcript with Dragon Naturally Speaking (Windows also provides free voice recognition, XP and later), by “echoing” the words that are spoken on the video into your chat headset microphone.
Then format your lines and upload it into universal subtitles.

How you format the transcript determines how they display on the screen.
1) Hit enter twice to separate each subtitle;
2) You cannot submit subtitles longer than 3 lines (2 is best).

The import method is not obvious either: Click upload subtitles, then click “Paste in Transcript”

Thousands of Captioned and Subtitled Videos Rendered Unusable by YouTube

March 20, 2010, provider of online captioning and subtitling tool that overlays captions on top of YouTube, has been blocked from using YouTube videos.

It is unclear whether this is a blocking of all third party videos, or just Overstream. If anyone has any specifics, please post.
[Edit:3/21 – Looking at whether this may be an api change that Overstream did not account for]
Anyhow, the net result is that hundreds of captioned movie trailers, and thousands of subtitles in many languages, are rendered useless.

Thanks for the warning, YouTube.

Working on getting movie trailers up somewhere else.

For now, try TrailerSpy or dotSUB.

Two More Ways to Caption YouTube Online

I’ll write more on them when I get to evaluate them and add them to my captioning tool lists, but I wanted to post them so I did not forget.

If you happen take a look at them, please add your comments on the finished “look” of their videos, and if you try them, please comment on their ease of use, etc.



Adding Captions to YouTube: Resource Links

ProudGeek Reviews of some captioning methods

Other Captioning Options:

And Caption Keeper, for converting TV Closed caption data into webstreaming formats.

If there is interest in more in-depth review or instruction in these, please comment.

You Tube Embedded Player Now Supports Captions!

From the YouTube BlogNew Features for the YouTube Embeddable Video

Closed Captions are now available in embedded videos like this one:
(My Captioned Video of SuperNanny inserted)

Also Featured:

High-quality start images (thumbnails) – Before you press play on embedded YouTube videos, the thumbnails for the video will be presented in high-quality. We’re pleased with the results – let us know if you agree.

Search in embeddable player – At the close of an embedded video, along with the usual recommended videos and URLs, a search box will appear. Not only will you be able search from within the embedded player, you will be able to watch videos through the same window. That’s right, you can search all of YouTube from the comfort of your favorite blog, news, or humor page.

Integrated video annotations – Annotations enable video producers to incorporate text information into their videos, create choose your own adventure-style stories or add links to any YouTube video. People watching videos through the embedded player can now join the fun.