If you want to get the most accurate captions for your YouTube videos, you’re best off using an online closed captioning service like Rev.com. Although YouTube does offer a free automatic closed captions feature, even they admit the results can vary greatly since they’re using speech recognition technology. A quick Google search of “youtube caption fail” yields over 13 million results, demonstrating the well-known shortcoming of captioning software compared to human captioning services. Some of the YouTube closed caption fails are quite humorous, but certainly not something you want to see in your professional videos.

YouTube Caption Fail
Below, we’ve put together step-by-step instructions for uploading closed caption files to your YouTube videos. If you’re a Rev customer or plan to try our service, we do offer a YouTube integration that automates this process for you.

Step 1: Order the correct format

YouTube supports SubRip (.srt), WebVTT (.vtt), DFXP/TTML (.dxfp), Scenarist (.scc),  and SAMI files, as well as several others. Rev recommends using TTML or WebVTT as these provide more options for alignment and formatting than other formats with YouTube.

Step 2: Navigate to the video manager

  1. Click on your account picture in the upper right corner and click on ‘creator studio.’
  2. From the list on the left hand side, select video manager. This should bring up a list of your videos.

Step 3: Add caption files

  1. Next to each video is an ‘edit’ button. The button next to it has a small black triangle on it. Click on this button next to the video you wish to add a caption to. This will bring up a drop-down menu.
  2. Select ‘Subtitles and CC.’
  3. If you have not added captions before, a window will ask you what language is spoken most in the video. Select the language your captions are in.
  4. Click the blue button that says ‘Add new subtitles or CC.’
  5. Under ‘select method,’ click ‘Upload a file.’
  6. Choose ‘subtitles file.’ (Even though you’re uploading closed captions, YouTube treats them the same way.)
  7. Click ‘choose file’ and select your caption file from your computer.
  8. Click upload.

Step 4: Check and edit your captions

YouTube has a built-in system to edit and add captions. After you upload the file, YouTube will display the caption file with the video so you can check the timing and text. Once you’re satisfied, click ‘Publish.’

Step 5: Display your captions

Just click the CC icon at the bottom of the video player to toggle captions on and off.

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