How To Hardcode Closed Captions Into Your Videos (Fast and Easy)

Hint: Let YouTube Do Most of the Work for You

Check this out:

By far, the easiest way to ensure that you have subtitles or Closed Captions in your videos is to simply upload them to YouTube.  They will automatically add the captions to the video and you don’t need to do a thing (although there is one thing you might want to do…more about that below) .  If you want to include that video on your website, you can easily just grab the embed code from YouTube and drop it into your site.That’s what I did here.  Go ahead and click on the CC at the bottom of the video.  Viola!  Instant subtitles.

These days technology is improving so fast, we hardly notice how incredible this is.  Anyone remember trying to train voice recognition software like Dragon Dictate or ViaVoice to learn your speech patterns back in 2005?   Compared to those dinosaurs, YouTube’s, voice recognition software is amazingly quick and accurate.  And it’s only getting better.

Still, It’s not perfect.

So, if you have a video that you’ve uploaded onto YouTube, there is one thing you might want to do.  And that’s go through and check the accuracy of the transcription and make corrections.  I show you how in the first part of the video above.
Just don’t forget, like I did in this video: If you make corrections to the auto-generated subtitles, be sure to click publish edits to be sure you’ve saved the changes.Publish Closed Caption Edits in YouTube

Why Should I Care if My Video Has Subtitles?

  • To accommodate people with hearing impairments (of course).
  • People like to watch videos with the sound off when they are in public or just don’t want to disturb others around them.
  • Many folks can better understand when they read along with while the audio plays.
  • Captions are helpful when the audio is not so good.
  • It’s helpful for people who are non-native English speakers; especially if the speaker has a strong accent or talks very fast.
  • Some people just prefer to watch a video with the sound off and just follow along in the captions.
  • Adding Captions to YouTube Videos Increases Views Significantly

If YouTube Provides Subtitles, Why Hardcode?

Good question.  If you only make videos to embed them on your own site (or just for YouTube),  there’s really no need.  But, if you upload your videos to your site (or another site that doesn’t support subtitles), then you might want to burn them in.

Like I did in this short clip from the video above:

Hardcoding the Subtitles

Once you get the subtitle file from YouTube, you’ll need some software if you want to hardcode (or “burn”) the captions into the video. For this, some people use the free and very versatile VLC (VideoLAN).   I love VLC and I use it all the time.  But for this purpose, I’ve found it much simpler to use another free program called Handbrake.  It’s open source and available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu.

Here’s their site.

Please post your comments and questions below.  I really want to hear from you!

And you’ll really make my day when you share on your social media!

5 Replies to “How To Hardcode Closed Captions Into Your Videos (Fast and Easy)”

  1. Gr8 site. Are used to love surfing in Hawaii until I became disabled. It was like my second home. I really miss the North Shore on oahu. I completely agree that many people that are being left behind by so much technology.

  2. Great article. I had never thought of adding subtitles to my videos. I’m new to doing videos, but it makes complete sense.

    It seems especially important when people are listening without sound. I know I listen without sound, especially when I am in a crowded space.

    I appreciate the guidance. Thanks – Brian

  3. This is great information. I am currently trying to build 2 different websites and want to do some videos on both. Having read your posting, I will make sure that I cover the captions as well. I had quite frankly never even thought about that.

    Are there any instances where you would not want to use the captions?

    This posting is very educational, easy to read and understand and I believe that anyone reading it will understand what they need to do to accomplish this effect.

    1. Thanks Frank, Good question. I guess I wouldn’t add captions to a video where the spoken information is unimportant.

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