HomeTN eCampus FacultyAccessibilityCaptioning Video in YouTube

8.8. Captioning Video in YouTube

What is video captioning?

Captions are a text form of audio information in video and animations. This includes the words that are spoken, who is speaking when it is not evident, and important sounds like music, laughter, and noises. Captions must be synchronized with the visual content to contextualize them. You can learn more about captioning at W3C (new window).

Captioning Methods

Captioning video is an important step in making content accessible that can be accomplished to a varying degree by a variety of means. Authoring software may offer captioning through the video editing process, but it may lack a hosting option to share videos. Many users may choose YouTube or other services for free hosting options.

Steps to Caption on YouTube

Upload a video or open the Video tab and select an existing video in YouTube Studio.

Scroll down the left menu to Subtitles. The upload process typically includes setting the language, but this is a place to add or edit the language. In this example, the captions/subtitles are published (automatic). Choosing the Options menu opens to edit, download, or delete.


Before sharing a new video, check for captioning to see what captioning work, if any, has been done. Some authors may allow community contributions. Otherwise, check with the owner about getting the captions added or updated before sharing the video.

There are two things to easily check to confirm minimum quality. It is best to check the entire video, but you will likely know right away if any serious effort has been made to make the video compliant.


New Videos Uploaded to YouTube

Videos take some time to simply upload. YouTube also needs some additional time to process the video to share it online. Initially, there will be a message about the latter before you can take the next steps. Once the video is processed for sharing, there will be options to add captions via the methods listed below. All are good options, but they are all manual methods. YouTube's auto-captioning service is working in the background after the upload. This is an invisible process to the user. This also takes some additional time that could take many minutes to several hours that depends on the length of the video and server capacity.

Three choices: Upload a file, Transcribe and auto-synce and Create new subtitles or CC.

Edit Auto-captions

Waiting for auto-captions to process looks pretty appealing if you are new to the process, but it does require some edits. Notice some of the details highlighted here. Capital letters and punctuation are missing. Words can be confused or missing. As an example, TN eCampus always requires edits.

Typical punctuation and capital letter sample corrections highlighted.

Make any necessary edits. Choose Delete Draft to cancel changes or choose Save Changes when finished.

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