Why & How to Create YouTube Videos with Captions

Many people view video captions as just an easier way to understand what you’re watching, especially if it involves heavy dialogue. But for people with hearing disabilities, captions are crucial. Without this feature, many people are unable to consume video content. If you’re creating video content, make sure to read up on closed captioning laws to make sure you’re following guidelines. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s important to provide captions for YouTube videos, as well as the fastest and easiest ways to make sure your video content is accessible to all. 

The Importance of YouTube Videos with Captions

It’s vital to know how to get subtitles on YouTube. Without CC (closed captioning), your video won’t be as accessible, therefore limiting its reach and keeping people from being able to consume your content.

Just consider that 20% of the global population (or roughly 1.5 billion people) have a hearing disability, according to the World Health Organization. That’s a lot of people that would miss out on your content just because you didn’t include YouTube video subtitles.

But adding subtitles to YouTube videos is more than just for people with disabilities.

One is the language barrier. While English is considered a universal language, only around 360 million people globally are native English speakers. Having YouTube videos with captions in a viewer’s native language allows them to engage with your content on a deeper level.

Thanks to mobile technology, people can now consume video content anywhere – in the mall, walking in the park, or on their commute home. However, this also means that many people aren’t watching with the sound on – for example, while in the library or on a crowded subway train. In these cases, subtitles allow them to consume media on the go.

From a marketing standpoint, subtitles can also help with search engine optimization (SEO). That’s because captions make your video content “readable” by Google, causing your content to rank higher in search results. 

How to Add Captions for YouTube Videos

Now that you know the importance of captions, let’s discuss how to caption a YouTube video.

The most straightforward is YouTube’s Subtitle Tool, which allows you to type captions in the video before you publish. This is a great, simple option if your video is short or doesn’t contain a lot of dialogue and voiceovers. However, because it’s manual, it can quickly become tedious and time-consuming for longer clips.

A slightly faster method is to use YouTube’s Automatic Transcript Sync tool. Like the Subtitle Tool, you’ll need to manually type the subtitle that will appear in the video. But this time, YouTube will automatically sync the text to the correct timestamp. While this method may be slightly faster, it still involves manual input — taking up a significant amount of time. 

The reality is that when it comes to automatic subtitles, YouTube doesn’t offer any options. The best approach is to use automatic transcription software to generate a subtitle text file, then upload that to YouTube. Sonix’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered engine can transcribe video content as accurately as a human, but in a fraction of the time and cost.

Sonix also has other great features that make it easy to generate captions, such as audio translation to over 39 languages, word-by-word timestamps, speaker labeling, and automated diarization. We help millions of content creators around the world transcribe, translate, and organize their audio and video files. It’s fast and accurate yet affordable!

Ready to start creating YouTube videos with captions with just a few clicks? Sign up for a free trial of our transcription software today! 


Can I add subtitles in different languages?

Yes! After you figure out how to get English subtitles on YouTube videos, adding in other languages uses roughly the same procedure. The only difference is that you need a subtitle file for each language you want. You must also pick a different language when adding subtitles in YouTube’s Upload Video tool.

Traditionally, you’d hire a translator to do this for you. Nowadays, though, it’s far easier and cheaper to simply use a digital translation tool. Sonix’s audio translation services can help you create captions in over 39 different languages and includes handy features to help you fine-tune the translations, such as side-by-side comparisons and an in-browser editor.

How do I make the captions bigger on YouTube?

Most people don’t know this, but you can actually change the size of YouTube captions. Knowing how to make captions bigger on YouTube is crucial for helping those with visual impairments. Additionally, some might prefer having bigger captions (if they’re watching on a smaller device, for example).

As a content creator, however, you don’t have control over caption size. That option can only be made by the viewer.

Doing it is easy. In the YouTube player, viewers can simply select the Settings button on the bottom right. After that, they’ll select Subtitles/CC and then Options. This should display options for changing caption size, color, and style. Alternatively, viewers may press “+” on their keyboard to increase the caption size or “-“ to decrease it.

How do users turn the subtitles on?

Again, turning on subtitles is something you can’t control from your side as the creator/publisher of the video. That power rests with the user unless the caption is part of (or “baked into”) the video.

If your viewers need to learn how to put subtitles on YouTube when watching your content, you should provide them with instructions for easily toggling captions on and off. Users can just click the CC icon on the lower right portion of the YouTube player. Alternatively, they can press “C” on their keyboard to turn it on or off.

Users can also turn captions on automatically for all videos they watch. To do so, they must log into their YouTube account and go to Settings. Under the “Playback and Performance” tab, checking on the “Always show captions” checkbox will turn on captions for all videos moving forward.

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