Misc. Resources




Specified Mini-Lesson

Youtube#2 Caption This: Create your own Closed Captions



If you want to reach the most people with your Youtube video you need to be sure that it is accessible, and captions are a key part of that accessibility. Some people may not hear well, or may want to watch your video at a time or in a place where loud volume is inappropriate. Some people may not speak English well and want to read along. Some may not speak English at all and want to watch captions in another language. Youtube provides an automatic transcript, but it is frequently very rough or unusable. Translation into another language would only compound the issue.
Fortunately, Youtube allows partners to provide their own captions. In this mini-lesson, I show the process as I created captions for my recent video Out of Notes Part 4 - Linked Collections. The transcript file created, which can be useful as a template as you create your own captions is at OutOfNotesPart4.srt You may want to download and use the file as a template after watching the video.
Pro-tips:
  1. To get to the Captions for a video, open the Video Manager, select the video and use Edit - Captions.
  2. You can download the automatic captions as a .srt file. From the Captions page, click on the Automatic English track and under the Actions menu on the upper right, click on .srt.
  3. If you want to adjust the foreign language translation for a language, you can download the transcript file for that and make it a named track of its own.
  4. If you have a long transcript, it may be easier to load the script and let Youtube try to synchronize it (there is an option for loading the script above the option to load the file with times). Even if it isn't perfect, you can then download and modify where needed.
  5. I tend to start and stop all timings on the half second, so if I copy one line and it stops at 01:03.57, I will set the end time as 01:03.50 and the start time of the next to 01:04.00. This gives enough time for the captions to not overrun each other.

The .SRT format is fairly simple. The first three captions from the attached file are below. The first line has a sequence number for which caption it is, the second line has a start time when the caption will start showing and an end time when it will stop, and the third line is the text of the caption. There is a blank line between captions.

1
00:00:00,00 --> 00:00:04,00
This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a mini-lesson called

2
00:00:04,50 --> 00:00:10,00
Caption This - Create your own Closed Captions to be sure that what they read is what you said.

3
00:00:10,50 --> 00:00:15,00
I'm going to do this with my latest video, Out of Notes Part 4 - Linked Collections.

Rough transcript (used for Closed Captions as well):
This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a mini-lesson called Caption This - Create your own Closed Captions to be sure that what they read is what you said.

I'm going to do this with my latest video, Out of Notes Part 4 - Linked Collections. If we turn on the Automatic captions, this is what we'll see:

((This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a Mini-Lesson called Out of Notes Part 4.))

Clearly the Automatic captions do not match the words that were said, but it is even worse when you translate because it tries to translate those automatic captions... this time in Spanish.

"This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a Mini-Lesson called Out of Notes Part 4."

To create our own closed captions, we need to make a transcript. Just go through the video as many times as you want, listening to the audio and writing down exactly what it says.

And then you need to create an .SRT file. I have a template on my Mini-Lesson. It has all the times of when they start and stop.

We go into.. on Youtube, we go into the Closed Captions, and from in here we're going to import the .SRT file. Find the .SRT file with all the timings and the words matched up. When we import that, it's going to associate that with a separate track then the Automatic captions.

So, there they are. Now, we have to remember to go and turn off the Automatic captions, so we'll disable those. I should note that you could actually modify the Automatic captions, but it's actually harder to do that.

Let's try again with the corrected captions in English.

"This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a Mini-Lesson called Out of Notes Part 4."

And that way we have the correct captions in English, but now when we choose Spanish, we'll also see that the translation is far closer.

"This is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a Mini-Lesson called Out of Notes Part 4."

That's how simple it is to create closed captions so that you have accurate English and foreign language translations. Thank you.

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