Don Crowther
Don Crowther

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Proven Strategies and Techniques To Build YOUR Business

Closed Caption Youtube

If you’ve seen my YouTube videos, you’ll see that most of them show the text of the video in text at the bottom of the screen. It’s done as part of YouTube’s closed captioning service.

You definitely want to implement closed captioning for your videos and setting it so that its on by default. Doing so:

  • Increases the length of time that people watch your videos
  • Increases the engagement with the viewer, increasing the probability that they’re going to do what you ask them to afterwards.
  • Helps those who have hearing disabilities be able to understand your video.

It used to cost a ton to implement closed captioning, but YouTube’s given us a gift, which makes it virtually free. Watch this video to learn exactly how to do it yourself, plus a special surprise benefit you’ll get as a result of doing so. Here’s the video:

(Like this video? Rate it and leave a comment! Want a transcript? Click on the image below or download a free transcript of this video. )

Addding Text To YouTube Transcript
Click To Download Free Video Transcript

Go add some text subtitles to your videos on YouTube now! It’s quick, it’s easy. It delivers great results – I recommend that you try it!

Have you tried adding subtitles to your videos? Tell us about your experience by writing a comment below!

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  1. Great info. Nowadays you can also outsource captioning though, if you don’t have the time to do it yourself. Services like charge only $1 per minute and you don’t even have to upload the video itself to have it captioned, you just need to provide the link to the video.

  2. Hi

    Thank you so much for the great info but I tried and I could not do it as explained here…….any one around to help me? I am gonna give him/her my video and its transcription just to do it like what Don explained here.
    appreciate your help.
    Sarbaz omar
    Senior Translator

  3. This is a very helpful video. I’m confused about one thing. Are you doing this behind-the-scenes at a WordPress site? How would someone do it who doesn’t use WordPress?

  4. Hey Don
    As always excellent content cheers my man.
    Will be passing the video to my VA so we start using it.


  5. Hi Don,

    Great info but I’m having problems with this in YouTube. Seems every video I upload says “machine transcription failed” and I don’t get any option to retry. Are others having this issue? I was excited to try this out but not having any luck within YouTube.


  6. BRILLIANT!! Thanks so much, Don, for sharing this, you are a star! I’ve just added the captions to three of my videos and it worked a treat! Certainly a huge step up from the captions that Google’s current system provides. I reckon they’ve still a got long way to go there.

    One other thing I’d really appreciate you clarifying, with reference to Patrick Ulloa’s question above:

    Can you upload “multiple txt.” files for the same video so that you can provide “quality” captions in “multiple” languages. i.e. having now uploaded my English transcript, is it impossible to upload another in, say, French? Or will this just delete my quality English captions?

    It would be great to think that you could provide quality captions in multiple languages for the same video but as far as I can see you can’t. Am I right? To achieve this, presumably you would have to upload the video multiple times and upload translated transcripts for each language you wished to provide for. Obviously not a good idea for many reasons.

    Thanks again for the tip!!

    1. Dear Fly Fishing (love that sport, BTW – I’ve caught a large number of trees using it!),

      Yes, you can upload multiple files, giving you the ability to upload files in a large number of different languages, giving you the ability of having your video indexed and seen in those languages. It’s a very cool part of this service! You don’t upload the video multiple times, you simply upload each language’s transcript separately, and indicate what language that transcript is written in.

      Let us know how it goes for you!

  7. Thanks Don! You provide more great content for free than most “Guru’s” do for money! I’ve been a big fan since I took your SMARTS class a couple years ago, thanks for continuing to provide great content and good value on your blog and in your e-mails.

  8. Thanks for the Information on this new software things are really starting to come around!. Over the past couple years things have started to advance so much I can’t wait to see what’s coming.


  9. Thanks for this interesting tutorial. What I don’t get is the plug in bit. Where do I use that and where do i install it and even get it? is it on You Tube’s uploading page? I dont get that at all and you don’t mention it asif everybody knows. I dont use wordpress for anything so it might be nice if you can just give one a bit of info for how that gels with the tutorial, because now I still dont have a clue how to proceed.


    1. I’s not a plugin – it’s YouTube’s Captions function. Watch the video again and you’ll see what you click on to get to the point where you can upload it.

  10. Hi Don,

    Thanks for this great video. It comes just as I am upgrading to version 7 of Camtasia which has a CC feature built in.

    My question is (and you may or may not know the answer), will the subtitles created in Camtasia7 (ADA compliant) be picked up in YouTube? Or would you recommend exporting the subtitles from Camtasia and uploading them separately into YouTube once the video is uploaded?

    I agree that the subtitles should help to capture attention but I would also like to make sure that YouTube is indexing the words as well.

    By the way, the Camtasia 7 does a pretty reasonable job of transcription in the program. It is not free and you still need to go back in and correct some of it but you can do it all within the program. As you correct a section of the subtitles, it restarts from the beginning of that snippet so that you can make sure you got it right. This is my first attempt but if you want to see what the finished product looks like, you can see it here:

    The other point you make in the video is a good one. By having to actually edit all the ums, ahs and other verbal ticks, I think this exercise will make me more aware of how to present more clearly. I hope so, anyway.



  11. Don…
    For those of us who already add text into the “lower third” of our videos during the editing proces, wouldn’t there be confusion? Seems like the lower third text and the subtitles would compete for the same space on the videos, albeit on different layers, but the net result might be that neither text is legible! Thoughts?


    “Coach Gary” Micheloni

    1. That will be a problem. The Youtube text will overlap the lower third.
      I suggest you test something short, and see if there are some adjustments you can make in placement of your text that would make it so that both yours and the YouTube content could play in the same sandbox.

  12. Don,

    First time visitor. I have been working with captioning for hearing impaired applications
    for years. This is breakthrough news….leave it to Google…a marketing app with hugh
    social benefits.
    Reading and retention levels improve with captioning of voice and video.
    Thanks so much.


  13. Hi Don,

    Thanks for a great video! I was watching it with cc turned on. A couple of things came to mind. First of all with the side width you have on this page the CC option is not seen on the video player above. I had to dig in and look under the mysterious arrow to find it.

    Some captions wasn’t included. Not sure if this is because of the transcribe service or so, but sometimes it looked like it skipped a sentence.

    If you are doing screen recordings with Camtasia a new feature was just added with the latest version 7.1 (pc version), it can now automatically create cc to your videos. It now create 508 compliant closed and open captions.

    Looking forward to your next video.

    1. I would caution you about regarding a captioned video as being Section 508 (of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) conformant. Section 508 also requires that “All training and informational video and multimedia productions that support the agency’s mission, regardless of format, that contain visual information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be audio described.”

      So, if there is any visual information that must be seen in order to understand the message of the video, it has to be described, for a blind or vision impaired person to hear and understand the full message. this is the parallel or opposite of the requirements for captioning. There, if there is any information that must be heard in order to understand the message of the video, it has to be captioned.

      There is one major difference. Captioning is pretty scientific and straight forward – for every word spoken, there is to be a word in the captions. For Video (or Audio) description, it’s much more of an art, conveying – with very limited time to do so – just enough description of what the viewer sees in order to comprehend the message. Rarely are videos planned with AD to be integrated, so typically retrofitting is all the more difficult and expensive. And, of course, it takes great consideration to decide which visuals need to be described and which don’t or can’t.

  14. As always great content and really easy to follow – I also think that having the download is helpful cos I would never remember all that you tell me or write it down quickly enough to make sense thanks

    Speak French

  15. Hey Don,

    I appreciate your effort for the sub title of video but I have still question about this plug-in.

    Can i implement this plug-in within landing page promotion as i want to increase my website traffic through landing page marketing.

    1. Sure, if you embed the YouTube video there, it will come in with the closed captioning data. Just remember that YouTube doesn’t allow sales videos, so it may not work from that angle though.

  16. Hi Don,

    Thanks for the information.

    Do you think I could use this technique to provide subtitles in a different language? What I mean is to do the transcription in English, get the timing correct, and then just change the text into the language I want?



    1. GREAT question Patrick!
      Actually you can.

      1. Upload the english transcription.
      2. Let it process (adding the time codes)
      3. Download the time coded document
      4. Translate that time coded document
      5. Upload the timecoded document, indicating to YouTube, as you do so, the new transcription’s language. There are a bunch listed on YouTube’s Captioning page, everything from Abkhasian to Zulu.

      Wa-lah – you’ve just created a translated video without having to actually create a newly voiced video.


      1. Don,

        Thank you so much for your answer. I wanted to launch a video site in two languages (English/Spanish), but I could not find out how to do this. thanks to you, I am now confident I can build a successful bilingual video site.

        Thanks again,


    1. You can, but the constant motion of the subtitles significantly increases viewing.
      Also, it’s a lot less work!
      Best, do both!

      1. These are not subtitles, they are closed captioning. Difference = they are closed. πŸ˜‰ This means they are not burned into the video, but can be toggled on and off by the user. If you edit them onto the video itself, then there is no way to turn them off.

        I’ve been in TV production for 20+ years, and the ability for the software to “hear” what is being said and line up the video accordingly is a total game changer for doing closed captions. (Which is a ton of work and expense to execute.)

        One day, when the technology is good enough to 100% accurately transcribe and close caption, so the entire process is automated, it will be a revolution. And of course Google’s purpose, as Don mentioned, is to be able to know everything that is going on on a website. Up until now, audio and video files have been a huge blindspot for them.

        Thanks for the tip Don. Awesome!


  17. Appreciated your email today. Nothing to sell – just great information. I’m glad that I took the time to look at your video. Great job (as usual). Fellow Genesis user. BoomerTechTalk (just launched Oct 5) is also based on Lifestyle theme.

    I decided to go with DISQUS commenting. Are you liking the native commenting here? Given my audience in retrospect, DISQUS may be too sophisticated for them and I am rethinking.

    Great meeting you BlogWorld 09, missed you this year in the fray but look forward to catching up with your presentation with their captured sessions offer. Always pleased to be connected.

  18. Great info Don.

    A scenario… I already use callouts for user attention and interactivity which as you say is really important.

    Thing is, I don’t need captions to this for me but I do want the SEO benefits related to the caption file.

    So, if I leave captions as Off for the video, but still upload a caption.text file, common sense would say that the text is available for the spiders but is this assumption true? We all know what they say about assumption!

    Thanks for the info,


  19. Hey Don,

    What a highly unusual video. Great stuff. Who knew we could add closed caption text to help Search Engines understand the content of the narration. How the heck to you even find this stuff out?

    Keep them coming!
    P.S. Your intro videos for SM launch were the most meaningful Social Media presentation I’ve even seen.

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