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adding YouTube Closed Captions

How to add closed captions to your YouTube video

Revised: August 2021

Closed captions allow viewers to read what is being said on screen. They are typically used for accessibility reasons by those who are deaf or have hearing impairments.

Closed captioning is an invaluable service which differs slightly from subtitling. These captions are used by a large audience, consisting not only of those who are hard of hearing, for a variety of reasons. They could be used when someone is watching a video in a busy or loud environment, watching a video with the sound off or to support viewers that are not native in the original language.

Subtitles vs. closed captions

Before getting started, it’s important to recognise the distinct difference between subtitles and closed captions. Although the two look similar, they actually serve different purposes. 

Subtitles provide a text alternative for the dialogue of video footage – the spoken words of characters, narrators and other vocal participants. Closed captions, on the other hand, not only supplement for dialogue but other relevant parts of the soundtrack – describing background noises, phones ringing and other audio cues that need describing.

Essentially, subtitles assume an audience can hear the audio, but need the dialogue provided in text form as well. Meanwhile, closed captioning assumes an audience cannot hear the audio and needs a text description of what they would otherwise be hearing.

So, now we’ve cleared that up, we can get back to how to add closed captions to your YouTube video. It’s fairly straightforward, and we’ve even created a handy tutorial that you can follow so that you can easily create and add closed captions yourself or by someone in your team.

Steps to adding closed caption to YouTube:

  1. Click channel logo and go to creator studio
  2. Click edit on your chosen video
  3. Click Subtitles/CC
  4. Click English (automatic)
  5. Edit the captions to match your video correctly
  6. Click save changes
  7. Publish

Or, if you already have a subtitle file such as an SRT file to upload, follow steps 1 – 3 from above, then continue with the below steps:

4. Add new subtitles or CC
5. Select language
6. Click upload a file – and click subtitle file
7. Upload & publish

The more accessibility options you add to your YouTube channel, the more potential you have to grow your online audience. Not to mention that YouTube videos with closed captions or foreign language subtitles are ranked higher by the platform’s algorithm and will have a better chance of being in the top searches if you choose to optimise your videos.

If you need any help with creating a subtitle document file for YouTube or any other media player then we’d be more than happy to help! Our team here at Matinée Multilingual have over 30 years of experience in the subtitling industry, and can guarantee an expert and professional service. 

Why not get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you?

Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934

Or email project@matinee.co.uk