How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos: The Ultimate Guide

Captions on videos are pretty much a compulsory requirement now, whether you’re creating content for TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. If you have a YouTube channel and want to start adding captions to increase engagement and make your content more accessible, what’s the best way to go about it? Let’s dive in to find out more about captions and how to add captions to YouTube videos.

What captions are, and how they benefit your video

Captions, or subtitles, are essentially written lines of text on the screen that relay the dialogue in the video for people who are hard of hearing. If the audio in a video is inaudible to someone, they will rely on captions to follow the story and understand what’s happening in the content. As social video platforms have opened their audiences worldwide, it’s important to make sure you are creating content that is accessible to everyone, including those with hearing difficulties.

As well as accessibility, mobile video has made it so that people are enjoying video content everywhere they go, from the daily commute to work to just waiting in line at the grocery store. Because of this, an entire new generation of viewers is watching video content with captions because their mobiles are muted most of the time. If you want to make videos that can genuinely be enjoyed by everybody, then adding captions is an easy way to do that.

How to add captions to a YouTube video

There are two ways to add captions to your YouTube videos: directly in your video editing software, or within YouTube itself. Let’s find out how to add captions within YouTube, as of August 2022.

  1. Within YouTube, sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Select Subtitles in the menu on the left.
  3. Select ADD LANGUAGE and select your chosen language.
  4. Under subtitles, select ADD.

This will give you a couple of options. You can either upload a caption file, which is a time-coded document of all the text that is said in the video, or you can add captions manually, or you can rely on YouTube’s own automatically generated subtitles feature. The option you choose depends on your project and how much time you have. If it’s a quick update vlog, you might be happy to rely on automatic captions as the spelling of some words isn’t important. But if you’re creating a tutorial and need captions to be conveyed perfectly, it’s best to create them yourself and upload them.

Enabling captions within YouTube gives users the option to switch them on and off. Alternatively, you can burn them into the video so they are permanently in the rendered file, and you can do this in video editing software like Pinnacle Studio.

Use Pinnacle Studio to edit your videos

Using Pinnacle Studio to edit your YouTube videos gives you complete control over the output. It lets you step up the quality of the output with music, color filters, graphics, and much more. By using the Text tool, you can add and type out captions for your video manually, choosing the style and font in a way that works for the video while remaining accessible.

The advantage of doing this is that the subtitles will always be on the video when you export it, so you don’t need to worry about a platform like YouTube generating automatic captions with mistakes in it, and you can also upload the file to other platforms that do not have captioning tools like Instagram and Facebook.

Captions make YouTube videos more accessible

Captions are useful tools for your videos, making them accessible for hard of hearing audiences but also appealing to younger generations who prefer subtitles for when they watch videos on mute while doing other things. Use the YouTube tools to either manually upload a caption file for your videos or generate captions automatically. Or retain complete control by adding captions when you edit the video in Pinnacle Studio and uploading a file with captions burned in.

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