top of page

How to quickly add non-English subtitle (closed caption) using YouTube

Assalamualaikum. In this tutorial I want to share my technique of adding subtitle or closed caption to a video fast. Although primarily this technique will be very beneficial for non-English subtitles, I use this also for my English content.

Video transcript:

Assalamualaikum my name is Widhi Muttaqien from expose academy. If you are a video content creator or perhaps you teach at Udemy or any other online course marketplaces, you should already understand how important subtitle or closed caption is. If your content is in English, it is easier to create subtitle using different variety of tools available online. But what if your content is not in English? Well, in this video I’m going to show you how to create subtitle fast whatever language you are using in your video. This method is so fast, in fact I prefer to use it, even on my English contents. So almost all of my videos you see in my channel used this method for subtitling. Okay.


Now. Before we continue there are several prerequisites. First you need to have the video transcript ready. Okay. This is not an automatic or machine generated technique. This is a manual method but fast. If you don’t know what video transcript is. Basically it is a written text of every human dialog you hear in the video content. Next, we’re going to use YouTube subtitling features for this. So you need to have a YouTube account and an internet connection obviously. Next, you may notice that I’m not using the YouTube Studio beta version for this. I’m using the classic YouTube creator studio interface. Next, you need or you should use Google Chrome browser. You can use other browsers, but I found that YouTube keyboard shortcuts work more consistent on Google Chrome browser. So use other browser at your own risk.

The workflow

The first step is to upload your video to YouTube. I will assume you already know how to do this. If you only need YouTube for subtitling purpose then you should set the video to private or unlisted. After that you can go to the edit page of your video and find the “Subtitle CC” section. Click this “add new subtitles or CC” and you will get this pop up window. The cool thing about English content is that you can create quick subtitles using 2 methods. First using automatic machine generated subtitles. And second by using a semi-automatic method called “transcribe and auto-sync”. You can access this method by clicking on this option “transcribe and auto-sync”. And then copy paste all of your video transcript texts into this text field in here. And then click this “set timings” button down here. Wait for about 3 to 5 minutes. And it is done.

But again, we’re not here to discuss English subtitles. We’re here to create non-English subtitle manually but quickly. So here is how we can do it. I will pretend that this content is not in English. So click on the “add new subtitles or CC” button again. And choose whatever language you video has. If the option is not listed in here. Just type in the language name in this search bar and YouTube will create a list for you to pick. Just pick the correct language name of your content. I will pretend that I’m using Indonesian language for now, even though I have the language in English. Of course you don’t want to do this, because the language code inside your subtitle file will be incorrect when you later download it. Okay. So just for demo purpose we will pretend that this video is in Indonesian. Now, notice if you didn’t select English before, you are left with only one option in here “Create new subtitles or CC”. The transcribe method is off. You can not use this method for non-English content. At least it is not available currently for Indonesian, when I record the video. Just click this button.

Now you’re inside the subtitle editing page. Notice by default YouTube is still trying to help us by creating these text placeholders with timing based on the video audio level characteristic. This is a nice feature, but we’re going to do this fully manual, so these existing text blocks will just get in our way. The remove them, click this “remove auto-generated timing” up here. This will leave us with a complete blank subtitle to start with. Next, copy one paragraph text from your video transcript. I usually do this per paragraph because we can simply triple click on the text to select the whole paragraph. Paste it in here, and then click the big plus button in here. The text will be added in this first text block down here.

Next just drag this all the way like this. Now before we continue, you really should familiarize yourself with the shortcuts that YouTube provide for subtitling. To check the shortcut you can click on this “keyboard shortcuts” link up here. Just memorize these shortcuts as these will help you speed up the process. Okay. Now bring the red playhead in the starting position and then press shift spacebar to play the video. Okay stop at this position. To stop the playhead we can use shift spacebar shortcut also. Make sure you stop at commas or sentences or audio breaks. This is so the meaning will not broken when the viewers read the subtitle. Next click in here and find the location of where the audio stop. Click on it and then press enter. You can see a new text block is created exactly at where we positioned our text cursor and exactly at the timing of the red playhead location.

Let’s continue again. Play the video again. Okay stop in here. This is a nice location to separate the block. But notice we have more than 3 rows of text. This is not good. We don’t want the subtitle text too tall that it covers the video. So go back by pressing shift left arrow. And play again. Stop. We want to create a new block at this position instead. Click in here and then press enter. And just continue the process. Stop. Click in here then enter. And so on. It may looks tedious, but trust me it is actually fun to do. Now, YouTube is smart enough to tell that I’m actually using English and not Indonesian. Let’s just close it for now. If you want to adjust the block timing. You can do that easily by dragging these blue handles at the end of each block. The timing values in here will change automatically as we drag around these handles. Let me continue the editing. After you reach the end of a paragraph like this. To add a new text block simply click on this plus button in here. Move this new block so it aligns with the next starting audio. Okay.

Keyboard only workflow

Now I’m going to show you even a faster method using only keyboard without any mouse interaction. Also I’m going to show you how to work with a very long text. Let’s select 2 paragraphs at once. Copy and then paste it in here. Now instead of widening this text block with a mouse. We can click on this block end time, and input a very large number, for example 1000. This value is in second so if we press enter it will be converted to about 16 minutes of time. You can input any large number you like, it doesn’t really matter. Now, because the text block is very wide, you will never need to use your mouse again to widen it. Click in here. And just like before press shift spacebar to play the video. Stop in here. Without moving the mouse, use the arrow key to move the text cursor to the correct cut off location. You can do this faster by holding control and then press right or left arrow keys. This method will move the text cursor 1 word at a time, instead of per 1 letter. Then press enter. Shift spacebar again. Stop in here. Notice we can not see our text cursor. Don’t worry. Just press right arrow and you will see the text field focus back to our text cursor. And just repeat the process. I’ll skip the video until the end. Okay, until you reach the end. Simply stop. And move the text cursor to the end of the text and then press enter. Click this x button to remove the last text block. And that’s it, we are done.

In my experience this process will take roughly 3 times of the video duration. So for example if you have a 10 minutes video. It will take you around 30 minutes to finish the subtitle. Sometimes even less.

After finished you can click “save changes” in here. This will bring us back to the video edit page in the subtitle CC section. To download the subtitle you need to go back to the editing page by clicking this button again. You can click this edit button if you want to continue editing or make changes on the subtitle. But we only want download the subtitle for now. To do that just click on this “action” button and in the download section choose either VTT, SRT or SBV depending on what you need.

Okay guys, I hope this short tip video can help you create subtitle or closed caption much faster. As always, subscribe to my channel, share the video. Give a thumbs up if you like the video, and give a thumbs down if you hate the video. Check out my other tutorials. Wassalamualaikum.

#closedcaption #subtitle #youtube

bottom of page