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Female Content Creator Preparing To Caption YouTube Video In YouTube Studio

How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

With over 2.5 billion users worldwide, the YouTube platform has established itself as a social media authority (and a key area of focus to many people’s social media strategies).

Well-produced YouTube videos perform exceptionally well, prompting many content creators to learn tips and strategies on how to enhance their videos and clips. Learning how to add captions to YouTube videos is often one of the first and most important skills to learn in this process. 

Below, we’re discussing how to add captions to a YouTube video. If you’re looking for additional information about how to promote YouTube videos be sure to check out our expansive guide here: How To Promote YouTube Videos

How To Add Captions to a YouTube Video

There are many ways that content creators benefit from learning how to add captions to a YouTube video—or to any sort of competitive social media platform video content, for that matter.

You can reference analytics from prepared and optimized video content to compare how your content is performing over time, whether you’re tracking YouTube vs. Vimeo performance or progress across other competitive social platforms. 

They are also a key tool for communication and enhancement throughout the duration of the video, and provide a higher degree of accessibility for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing viewers who still want to enjoy a creator’s content. Captions also offer greater accessibility to the 80% of content viewers who wish to use closed captions for reasons beyond hearing loss or damage. 

Below, we’re exploring the pros, cons and considerations that should be taken when creators are: 

  • Manually entering captions using YouTube Studio
  • Relying on auto captions generated by YouTube
  • Using an app to add open captions that appear directly on the video
  • Uploading SRT files for accurate YouTube video captions

Manually Add YouTube Captions Using YouTube Studio

Here’s how creators manually add captions using YouTube Studio. This method of learning how to add captions to a YouTube video is common and is often the first way that many encounter: 

  • Enter the Studio. If you aren’t signed into your YouTube account yet, you’ll be prompted to first. 
  • Click on Subtitles. This is located in the left-hand side menu. 
  • Select your video. 
  • Click “Add Language.” This allows you to toggle between any of the languages available in the YouTube Studio. 
  • Click “Add.” This option is located under the subtitles menu. 

While this method is the first way that many creators learn as they learn how to add captions to YouTube videos, it is overall inefficient and expensive—whether cost comes from outsourcing costs or from lost time spent. 

Rely on Auto Captions From YouTube

Rather than learn how to add captions to YouTube videos, many creators opt for an alternative: relying on auto captions. While many believe that this method is faster than the manual input method in YouTube Studio, it isn’t really. 

Creators, in most cases, have to go back into the final product for at least one review, if not more. They will also have to correct the many possible inaccuracies that can undermine the impact of the original content. This alone prompts many to find alternative ways to create and input their YouTube captions. However, some might find it valuable as a “rough draft form” that they can personalize and expand on later.  

If you are interested in experimenting with this method for your own process, we’ve listed the steps below: 

  • Enter the Studio. If you aren’t signed into your YouTube account yet, you’ll be prompted to first. 
  • Click “Content.” This option is located on the left side and shows all previously uploaded videos. 
  • Click “Details.” This is denoted by a pencil icon. Scroll down to the “Show More” option where you’ll find the “Language and Captions Certifications” area. 
  • Choose your language. You will have access to all languages currently supported by YouTube Studio. 
  • Auto-sync your subtitles. You do this by clicking “Subtitles” on the left side of the screen, clicking “Add” to open the options for new subtitles, and selecting the “Auto-sync” feature. 
  • Clean it up. You can allow it to sync and then review; selecting any timing edits you need to sync your video well. 
  • Finalize your content. Click on “Publish” to enact your changes. 

  • Add Captions to YouTube Videos Using MixCaptions

    A third-party video caption app like MixCaptions is the most effective option to meet your captioning needs. They offer an intuitive UI similar to what you’d expect from YouTube Studio, support if you need help and are offered at an accessible price point for more creators. 

    MixCaptions specifically is designed to be the ultimate caption support tool for creators of all types, and is incredibly user-friendly and affordable. It is also available on both Android, Mac desktop and iOS systems for maximum compatibility with your preferred OS. 

    Here’s how creators add captions to YouTube videos using MixCaptions: 

    1. Download MixCaptions. It’s available on both the Android, Apple and Mac app stores. 
    2. Start a new project. Do this by tapping on “New Project” in your display.
    3. Trim the video. When you’re done, click “Use” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. 
    4. Caption your work. Click on “Captions” in the bottom left of the display to do this. Follow the on-screen prompts to choose your language of choice. Then, click on “Generate Captions.” 
    5. Scroll through and optimize. MixCaptions is quite accurate. However, you may want to personalize your text to add some pizzazz to your content. Feel free to do so using the bottom-area scroll navigation. 
    6. Complete your work. Click on “Done” in the upper right hand corner after personalizing your content.  

    Use SRT Files to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

    SRT files have key information about video captions such as content and timing. They are considered to be a traditional and effective method of transferring captions from one video to another, and can still be used to add captions to YouTube videos. In fact, it’s how many creators may have originally learned how to add captions to YouTube videos. 

    MixCaptions allows content creators to export .srt files with their videos used in-app to keep your process as efficient and smooth as possible when it comes time for the final upload. 

    Here’s how creators upload an .srt file for use in the YouTube platform. 

    1. Locate your .srt file. This could be in your Downloads or Desktop area, depending on your storage settings. 
    2. Enter the Studio. If you aren’t signed into your YouTube account yet, you’ll be prompted to first. 
    3. Go to “Videos.” This is located on the left side of your screen. 
    4. Select your content. 
    5. Go to “Advanced.” 
    6. Click “Upload subtitles/CC.” 
    7. Refine your options. YouTube Studio allows you to select between using the .srt file timing or using timing of your own. Keep in mind that any edits at this point can directly affect the flow of your video. 
    8. Upload your file. You can then follow on-screen prompts to upload your .srt file. 
    9. Save your work. Don’t forget this crucial step! 

    Looking to use SRT files for your captioning needs? Learn how to create an SRT file (.srt) for captions (and more) with our helpful guide. 

    Why Caption YouTube Videos?

    Learning to add captions to YouTube video content provides a higher degree of accessibility to viewers who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or who simply wish to read captions in place of or alongside your audio content. 

    Additionally, captioning YouTube videos boosts engagement, watch time and overall impact. Meta has found that captions alone can boost video view time by an average of 12%, which can make a significant impact on viewer statistics across the range of creators. 

    Additional benefits that come when creators learn how to add captions to a YouTube video can include: 

    • SEO bonuses: Captions offer ample opportunity for keyword insertion, which places your video in front of your ideal audience. Don’t miss this chance to secure higher organic reach. 
    • Ease-of-consumption: Viewer preferences vary by the day. Creating content that can apply to as many viewers as possible is more strategic than other alternatives. 
    • Branding: Personalizing captions offers creators the benefit of instant brand recognition over time, and can boost engagement with your core demographic. 
    • Social media accessibility: Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members enjoy captions as they consume curated content, as well as many others who may experience a degree of neurodiversity. This underscores the importance of having social media accessibility interwoven in as much created content as possible. 

    Along these lines, users can export non-English captions as SRT files and load them into YouTube. This could provide a huge boost for those who maintain a goal related to international content consumption. 

    Additionally, this is a worthwhile endeavor for many creators, as sources estimate that over 80% of YouTube users live outside of the United States. 

    These reasons are similar to the reasons for adding captions to YouTube Shorts videos, and other types of media content around the web. 

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