Captioning on YouTube

Not long ago at work we were discussing the benefits of adding closed captioning to YouTube videos. The obvious benefit is making your content accessible to users who are hearing impaired or for whom the video’s language is not their first language, but an added bonus is that search engines index this text.

I wanted to play around with YouTube captioning just so I know how it works. I haven’t posted many videos to YouTube, but I had a few recent vacation videos that include speech. I transcribed one video in a .txt file and uploaded the file to the video. Even without time information, YouTube did a good job of matching text to audio.

Next I did a little research on captioning tools which led me to CaptionTube where I created a .srt file and uploaded that to another video. CaptionTube was quick to get started and easy to use for do-it-yourself captioning.

Before I decided to transcribe the two very brief videos I started with a 2-minute video that I knew had a lot of speech. It was a pain, not a video I want to transcribe just for fun. If I had a video that was important to transcribe or if I were recommending video transcription to a client I’d try using speech recognition software or looking for a captioning vendor. There are several captioning vendor recommendations on the Google support site.