YouTube Captioning

With 35 hours of video footage being uploaded to YouTube every minute, we are never short of fresh content to watch. But with new content being posted from all over the world, viewers can end up facing difficulties when watching videos, due to the variety of different languages used within both the audio and the captions of video content.


Captions/subtitles are a useful addition to a video, as it widens the audience that the video is available to. Captions/subtitles are also useful when sound may not be available, such as when viewing in a library, in the office or on public transport. By including captions and subtitles, it allows viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the content. The video also becomes more accessible for viewers who have difficulty following audio, either because they speak a different language or because they are deaf/hard of hearing.
Captions can be added to videos by uploading a closed caption file, within the editing page. If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right-hand side of the video player. Clicking this button will also allow you to choose which caption track you want to see.

Translating Captions

If captions are available, but not in a language that you prefer, you can try the machine translation feature. This can be accessed by opening the captions menu and clicking the “Translate…” button.
Another feature that is currently in Beta format is Transcribe Audio. This is an experimental service that uses Google’s speech-recognition technology to provide automated captions for videos. Whilst this may not be 100% accurate, it is definitely a sign of how technology is evolving.

New settings can also change the caption color, not for aesthetic reasons, but rather, to make the captions easier to read against the background of videos where the colors may blend in. Videos uploaded with broadcast caption support, which positions text near the character speaking, are now visible on YouTube in the same format. It’s also easier to upload videos that already have captions embedded in them.