How to Add Subtitles to a YouTube Video (2024’s Guide)

How to Add Subtitles

A Complete Guide to How to Add Subtitles to a YouTube Video.

Adding subtitles to a YouTube video is a crucial step for content creators looking to make their videos more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. 

Subtitles not only make videos more inclusive for viewers with hearing impairments, but they also improve engagement by allowing viewers to follow along with the video even in noisy or quiet environments. 

In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to add subtitles to a YouTube video, ensuring that your content reaches as many viewers as possible. 

So, let’s dive in and learn how to make your YouTube videos more accessible and appealing with subtitles!

What are Subtitles in YouTube Videos

Subtitles are the on-screen text that displays the spoken dialogue or important sounds in your video. 

Unlike captions, which cater to those with hearing impairments by including sound descriptions and background noise, subtitles focus solely on conveying the spoken word. 

They’re like tiny translators living in your video, whispering the story to viewers in different languages.

The Benefits of Having Subtitles in Your YouTube Videos

Benefits of to Add Subtitles to a YouTube Video

Think of subtitles like a magic sprinkle, enhancing your video in multiple ways:

1. Reach a Global Audience: Open your video’s doors to international viewers who wouldn’t understand your native language. This expands your potential audience exponentially, attracting new fans and boosting your channel’s growth.

2. Accessibility Hero: Subtitles make your content accessible to those with hearing impairments, fulfilling your social responsibility and creating an inclusive viewing experience.

3. SEO Booster: Search engines love subtitles! They provide additional keywords and context, potentially improving your video’s ranking in search results.

4. Engagement Enhancer: Subtitles keep viewers engaged, especially in noisy environments or with foreign language accents. They act as a visual safety net, ensuring no one misses a beat.

Step-by-Step Guide on Adding Subtitles to Your YouTube Video

Now, let’s dive into the practical magic of adding subtitles:

Gather Your Tools:

  • Subtitle File: You can create a transcript yourself or use online services like or for automatic transcription (with potential editing needed).
  • File Format: YouTube accepted formats like .srt, .txt, and .sbv. Ensure your subtitle file matches one of these.
  • Timing is Key: Each subtitle line needs timestamps marking its start and end point in the video. Most transcription services handle this, but double-check for accuracy.

Uploading Your Subtitles:

  1. Head to YouTube Studio and select your video.
  2. Click on “Subtitles” in the left-hand menu.
  3. Choose “Add subtitles or closed captions.”
  4. Select “Add a language” and pick the language of your subtitles.
  5. Click “Upload a file” and choose your prepared subtitle file.
  6. If your file has timestamps, select “Yes, my subtitles include timestamps.”
  7. Review and make any adjustments to the timing or text.
  8. Click “Publish” to make the subtitles live!

Bonus Tip: Consider using YouTube’s automatic captioning feature as a starting point. While not always perfect, it can save you time and effort, especially for shorter videos.

Remember: Subtitles are a powerful tool to elevate your YouTube videos. Embrace their magic, expand your reach, and watch your global audience flourish!

Now go forth and subtitle! Let your videos transcend language barriers and conquer the world, one translated word at a time.

Tools and Software Options for Adding Subtitles

YouTube’s built-in editor: The simplest option is right at your fingertips. YouTube offers a basic subtitle editor where you can manually type or upload a subtitle file. While handy for short videos, it can become tedious for longer content.

Dedicated subtitle editing software: For professional-grade control, check out tools like Subtitle Edit or Descript. These offer advanced features like timestamping, visual text placement, and collaboration tools.

Automatic transcription services: Tools like or automatically transcribe your video audio into text, saving you tons of time. However, accuracy can vary and manual editing is often required.

Best Practices for Creating Accurate and Well-timed Subtitles

Creating Accurate and Well-timed Subtitles
  • Accuracy is key: Ensure your subtitles are word-for-word accurate, especially for educational or informational content. Double-check names, technical terms, and foreign language translations.
  • Conciseness is king: Keep it short and sweet! Aim for two lines per subtitle and avoid long sentences that might overlap with dialogue.
  • Timing is everything: Subtitles should appear and disappear in sync with the speaker’s words. Aim for a slight delay before the audio starts for better readability.
  • Readability matters: Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon and slang. Consider the reading speed of your viewers and break up longer sentences into smaller chunks.

Tips for Optimizing Subtitles for SEO

1. Include keywords: Strategically insert relevant keywords into your subtitles to improve your video’s search ranking.

2. Translate your subtitles: Make your content accessible to a global audience by providing subtitles in multiple languages.

3. Add closed captions: Closed captions, which include background sounds and speaker identification, enhance accessibility for viewers with hearing impairments and can also boost SEO.

Remember, adding subtitles is an investment in the future of your content. It opens doors to new audiences, enhances accessibility, and improves your video’s SEO potential. 

So grab your favorite subtitle editing tool, embrace the world of text-on-screen, and watch your global viewership soar!

FAQs (Frequently Asked QUestions)

How do you get subtitles up on YouTube?

There are two ways to watch subtitles on YouTube:

  1. Automatic captions: YouTube automatically generates captions for many videos. These can be accurate, but may contain errors. Click the “CC” button in the video player to turn them on.
  2. Uploaded subtitles: These are created by the video owner or other contributors and are usually more accurate than automatic captions. Click the “CC” button, then select the desired language from the menu.

How do I force subtitles and captions on YouTube?

  • On desktop: Use the keyboard shortcuts “f” or “t” to cycle through available subtitle and caption tracks.
  • On mobile: Tap the “CC” button, then select the desired language and “Always show captions.”

How do I manually add subtitles to a video?

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Select “Subtitles” from the left menu.
  3. Click on the video you want to edit.
  4. Click “ADD LANGUAGE” and choose your desired language.
  5. Under “Subtitles,” click “ADD” and choose your upload method:
    • Upload a subtitle file: This is ideal if you already have a subtitle file in a supported format (.srt, .sub, .txt, etc.).
    • Transcribe the audio: YouTube provides a built-in tool for manually typing the subtitles.
    • Request community contributions: Allow viewers to contribute subtitles.

Can I add subtitles to a YouTube video that is not mine?

Unfortunately, you cannot directly add subtitles to someone else’s video on YouTube. However, you can suggest subtitles by leaving a comment or contacting the video owner.

How do I add subtitles to someone else’s YouTube video 2023?

You cannot directly add subtitles to someone else’s YouTube video. However, you can contribute subtitles through YouTube’s community captions feature. To do this, watch the video and click on the gear icon in the bottom right corner. Select “Captions” and then choose “Add community contributions.” You can then type in the subtitles for the video.

Should I add subtitles to my YouTube videos?

Absolutely! Subtitles make your videos more accessible to a wider audience, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, and those in noisy environments. They can also improve SEO and viewer engagement.

How can I add subtitles to a video automatically for free?

While YouTube’s automatic captions are a good starting point, they can be inaccurate. For professional-quality subtitles, consider using free online tools like Subtitle Edit or OpenSubtitles, or paid services like Rev or Fiverr.

How do I add subtitles to a youtube video on my phone?

Mobile apps like can transcribe audio and generate subtitles for your videos. You can then export the subtitle file and upload it to YouTube Studio.

How do I add subtitles to a video and translate it?

Some subtitle editing tools like Subtitle Edit allow you to translate existing subtitles into different languages. You can also find professional translation services that specialize in video subtitles.

How can I add subtitles to a video for free?

Several options exist for adding subtitles for free:

  • YouTube’s automatic captions: While not perfect, they are a free starting point.
  • Community contributions: Allow viewers to contribute subtitles on your video.
  • Open-source subtitle editing tools: Use tools like Subtitle Edit to create and edit subtitles manually.
  • Free online transcription services: Limited options are available, but some offer basic transcription for free.

Summary on How to Add Subtitles to a YouTube Video

In conclusion, adding subtitles to a YouTube video can greatly enhance the accessibility and reach of your content. 

By providing captions in multiple languages, you can make your video more accessible to a global audience and improve engagement with viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Adding subtitles is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished using YouTube’s built-in tools. 

By following the steps outlined in this article, you will be able to add subtitles to your YouTube videos and make them more inclusive and impactful.

Read: Subtitle Statistics: Insights for the Film Industry in 2024.

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