Video Accessibility: Learn how to add YouTube Subtitles to Movies

When you create and share videos, you want to make sure that your content can be used by as many people as possible. Whether they are hard of hearing or just in an environment where the volume cannot be turned on, viewers should be able to enjoy your videos.

This is why adding subtitles to videos is such an important step in publishing your content on YouTube.

Read on to understand why you should incorporate this into your YouTube strategy and how to add subtitles to a video.

Why are YouTube subtitles important?

There are many reasons why you should include video subtitles on your YouTube channel. The main reason is to add inclusivity to reach an even wider audience.

Below are some of the top reasons why subtitling video is a good practice.

Improve video accessibility

Over 5% of the world’s population has hearing loss and shouldn’t be banned from consuming your video content. The accessibility of social media in general is important to not only consider videos in all use cases.

Adding subtitles to your YouTube videos will make you more inclusive. Whether they want to learn more about your product, service, or industry, adding subtitles will expand your audience.

Promote further understanding

Not everyone learns the same way. While many people are content to see and hear a video, others prefer text that they can follow.

Using closed captioning is also a great way to help ESL learners. This allows non-native English speakers to read subtitles while listening to videos while learning the language or keeping up with those who are speaking too fast.

Even local learners appreciate the ability to turn on subtitles as many people still like to watch TV with subtitles.

Increase SEO

YouTube and Google index both the subtitles and the subtitle text. This way, in addition to the keywords in your video title, description, and tags, search engines get even more context about your video. This will help improve your YouTube SEO and potentially rank for even more keywords.

It can further strengthen your already optimized video for the focus keywords that you are already targeting by including it in your subtitles. Note, however, that subtitles can be indexed, not open captions. Since open captions are encoded in the video file, search engines cannot index them.

Improve the overall user experience

Many people either want or are unable to watch your video with sound. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are muted.

By adding closed captions to your YouTube videos, you can give your audience the ability to silently browse your channel without taking a mental note – and later forgetting – to watch your video when they can turn on the sound.

How to add YouTube subtitles to your video

We have listed a few reasons why you should add subtitles to your YouTube videos. Now let’s go through the guide so you can start implementing this tactic right away.

Step 1: Sign in to your YouTube studio

The first step is to go to YouTube and sign in to your YouTube Studio dashboard. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as this is your main dashboard for making changes to your videos or viewing channel analytics.

Step 2: Click the Subtitles tab on the left sidebar navigation

From your YouTube dashboard, click subtitle Click the tab on the left sidebar to access this feature on your YouTube video.

Step 3: Choose the video you want to add subtitles to

Here you get a full view of all uploaded videos. When you find the video you want to update subtitles for, click the pencil icon to edit it.

Step 4: Set your language

The first thing you need to do is set the default language for your video. While you may add subtitles in different languages, the default language should be based on the language most commonly spoken in the video.

Step 5: edit your video’s subtitles

Once you’ve confirmed the language of your video, you’ll be taken to a page that shows automated subtitles added in your language. Press the Duplicate and edit Click the button to correct any errors in the automatically generated subtitles.

You will be taken to a new screen where you can edit the auto-generated subtitles.

Screenshot of adding YouTube subtitles to videos.

While the automatic subtitles are a good place to start, they are unlikely to be accurate. So add punctuation and correct any inaccuracies. This would also be the time to adjust timestamps for your subtitles.

Screenshot of adding YouTube subtitles to videos and assigning timestamps.

Step 6: publish the subtitles

When you’re happy with your subtitles, save and publish them. Then, watch your video to make sure they are displaying properly.

Please return to this section anytime you want to add additional languages ​​to your video subtitles.

Tools for adding YouTube subtitles

If you’re looking for a faster way to transcribe your YouTube video to add subtitles – not that we blame you – there are a variety of tools you can use.

Below are some tools that will help you easily create and add subtitles to a video.

Automated subtitles from YouTube

A screenshot of the YouTube subtitle editor

The first time you add captions to your video, YouTube will automatically publish the automated captions that the tool captures from your video.

As mentioned earlier, these are usually not 100% accurate and often do not contain correct punctuation. But it can be the perfect, completely free option to get you started on video subtitling on a budget.

You can watch and pause the video next to the caption box to make the necessary corrections to your YouTube subtitles and publish them instantly for your viewers to access while watching your videos.


A screenshot of the homepage of the transcription company Rev.

Rev is a transcription company that offers various transcription options for a fee. You can have professionals write subtitles for your videos with 99% accuracy for $ 1.25 per minute, or you can get a transcription on a budget and their AI engine can get your content up to 80% accuracy for 0.25 Transcribe USD per minute.

With its various offerings, Rev can accommodate a wide variety of different budgets and make it easy to get subtitles for your YouTube videos. Once your transcriptions are ready, you can simply paste them into the subtitle editor on YouTube and publish them.

A screenshot of the homepage of the transcription software. is transcription software that can be used for live transcription of meetings, video conferencing, as well as your YouTube videos to create high-precision subtitles and meeting notes.

The AI-based software enables instant, automated transcription of your meetings and videos at an affordable cost. offers a free plan with a 600 minute transcription limit, as well as premium plans starting at $ 12.99 per month, so you can easily start transcribing your YouTube videos and adding subtitles to every new video you post .


A screenshot of the home page of the Subly transcription software website.

Our final tool recommendation for adding subtitles to online videos is “Subly”. This tool is specially designed for subtitling videos for accessibility and user experience.

There are several ways to add subtitles to your videos. You can have the tool automatically overlay your video’s subtitles in your chosen font and font color or download the subtitle text to add to a video editor.

While video subtitle overlay can be perfect for platforms like Facebook or Instagram Stories, you want your YouTube subtitles to be readable by search engines. Therefore, you should export the text file so that you can paste the subtitles into the subtitle text area on YouTube.

Subly comes with a free plan for up to 40 minutes of transcription. This is ideal if you regularly create and share shorter videos on YouTube. If you need more than 40 minutes, the Pro plans start at just $ 8 / month for 100-1,000 minutes of transcription per month.

Add YouTube subtitles to your videos

Accessibility and user experience are important aspects to consider for all of your online content and for all audiences. To learn even more about how to make your social media content accessible and inclusive, check out our post on online accessibility here.

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