Does YouTube Automatically Caption Videos? (Explained)

Transcribing a video can be a tedious task, and may take hours to finish, depending on the length.

However, captions for videos are incredibly important when it comes to viewers who may be hard of hearing or to try and catch the words that quiet audio isn’t picking up.

YouTube captions are also considered as text, which can help you push your video to the top of search engine results. 

Does YouTube Automatically Caption Videos?

YouTube does automatically caption videos using an algorithm to try to capture the video’s speech. However, YouTube’s algorithms are not 100 percent accurate, so most videos still require human intervention to check for mistakes.

Are Automatic Captions Added to All Videos on YouTube?

YouTube generates captions based on what it hears in the video and will automatically add it to all videos.

This may not always be accurate and will be based on the accent and quality of the audio that is fed to its algorithm.

This is why content creators need to review the automatic captions that YouTube feeds into their video for possible errors and make changes.

Please read our article about YouTube’s English subtitles not working.

How Do You Auto-Transcribe a YouTube Video?

YouTube automatically prepares a transcript based on its speech recognition system.

You can rely on what it would generate and download it. From there, you can go over it and edit out words or phrases that are wrong based on the video!

How to Access your Transcript:

To access the transcript, click the three dots at the lower right-hand corner of your video and select Open transcript.

The transcript will appear to the right of the video, along with the timestamps. You can toggle the timestamps by clicking at the upper right-hand corner of the transcript box.

Doing this step will be ideal if you want a clean transcript without the timestamps.

Once you have a clear transcript, simply click and drag your cursor to select all the text in the transcript box. Copy it and paste it on the preferred text editor.

You can now make the necessary edits to your transcripts.

Uploading Your Transcript:

To upload the edited transcripts, go to the video manager on your channel, look for the video you want to update the transcript, and click edit.

Look for the Subtitles/CC tab, click add new subtitles, select your language, choose transcribe and auto-sync then paste the transcript in the box.

After this, you can save your work and wait for YouTube to process your video.

YouTube automatically highlights words that might be wrong in the original transcript, which makes it easy for you to review the captions on your YouTube video.

Can You Upload Multiple Subtitles or Captions in a YouTube Video?

While Google automatically generates these for you, you can also upload multiple subtitles per language, to make the text more coherent.

This is helpful when you need to reach a wider audience with your videos!

Can I Control What Language YouTube Uses in the Captions?

You can select the default language for all your videos through the video manager:

  1. In the video manager, select edit on any video. 
  2. Go to the Subtitles/CC Tab 
  3. A pop-up message will appear asking you to select video language. Choose your language 
  4. You may click on the checkbox to set the default language for succeeding videos. 

Your succeeding videos should now display subtitles in the default language you have set.

This is very useful if you have an audience who speaks a certain language. 

How Long Does YouTube Take to Generate Captions?

YouTube generates captions for most videos the moment they are uploaded.

Thanks to their speech recognition, YouTube is able to produce these captions automatically. Remember, these captions are not 100 percent accurate.

To ensure that videos have the right captions, you should upload the video in private to give you time to update the captions before making the video public!

Here is a link to our article that talks on Will YouTube Remove the Dislike Button?

What if YouTube is Using the Wrong Language for Captions? 

Should YouTube use the wrong language for a video, you can change it to the right language. 

To change the language: 

  • Click on the Settings button on the screen.
  • On the pop-up menu, select “Subtitles/CC” 
  • Click auto-translate 
  • Choose the language you want the subtitles to translate.

Can You Edit the Captions of a Video You Don’t Own? 

You can edit captions on videos you don’t own, as long as the channel has activated community contributions.

The Community Contribution feature of YouTube is a collaborative feature, which allows members of your channel’s community to help update captions and descriptions for accuracy.

This feature is useful for educational channels to keep viewers updated!

The benefit of this feature lets your audience submit captions in other languages that you may not be familiar with. This service is free and helpful if you do not have the means to create transcripts in other languages.

Even with contributions from your fans, you will still have control over the content that ultimately gets seen. You can choose to approve, reject, or flag contributions as you deem fit.

You can also call for improvements in your captions as well.

Why Should I edit the YouTube Generated Transcripts? 

You should edit the transcript of your YouTube videos for the following reasons: 

1. Better Search Engine Results 

By editing the transcript, you increase the chance of your video appearing in search results.

You can rephrase sentences in such a way that it has the important keywords in a topic, without altering the whole message. 

2. Repackage a Message 

This is particularly useful if you are running a digital campaign, where you want to drive particular key messages to your audience.

By rephrasing a transcript, you can make the message clearer, without the unnecessary words, so that your audience can understand you better. 

3. Captions Add to Viewing Time 

Captions help keep viewers interested in the video.

Since a transcript is available, this will help viewers understand your video, and will increase your chances of winning their subscription to your channel. 


How to Change Subtitles Language on YouTube

How to Set Default Closed Caption Language – 2014 YouTube Tutorial

How You Can Allow Other People to Add Captions to Your YouTube Videos

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