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How To Create Video Subtitles Quickly For Free

The future of internet content and social media sharing is video. But many social media platforms turn off their videos by default. Therefore, to listen to the video, you must either turn on the volume or add subtitles.

It’s better to have both just in case. A lot of people browse their social media feeds at high speed, so all they see is you silently speak your words.

Which is pretty much useless. But on the other hand, what if there are subtitles? Then they can read something interesting that you have to say. Interesting enough to stop scrolling and turn up the volume. If they are not in a public place, then subtitles are necessary.

Many people advertise their audio transcription services on sites like Fiverr and Upwork. But honestly, even the cheapest rates can make you hesitate if you’re on a tight budget (or no budget).

I have also previously written about creating your own subtitles using free software, but it takes quite a long time. That’s why you can do them quickly and for free with YouTube.

Wait YouTube?

Not many people realize this, but every video uploaded to YouTube is automatically decrypted by the service. To prove it, go to any YouTube video and click the Subtitle / Closed Caption button at the bottom right of the video.

After that, you will see how the subtitles will start when the person starts speaking.

But you can immediately see that the transcription is not perfect. Computers do this, not humans. So if you have a weird accent like mine, the words will be garbled. If he doesn’t hear a word, he guesses (sometimes fun). In addition, punctuation marks are often not used.

This does not mean that transcription is useless. I would say that the accuracy is 80-90%. This is great for a free service, and it really doesn’t take long to fix the bugs.

Many people choose not to correct errors with subtitles, either because they do not even realize that subtitles are there, or because of sheer laziness on their part. This is a big mistake, because subtitles can actually affect how many people watch your videos.

You can edit subtitle errors and re-upload them to your YouTube videos. Or use this file anywhere. Consider this a free gift from Google.

Upload your video to YouTube

Obviously, the first step is to post your video to YouTube. I would recommend uploading it privately or off-list first, until you understand the subtitles.

Private or private videos are also good if you don’t plan on storing the video on YouTube and only upload it there to take advantage of the subtitling service.

Click the camera icon in the upper right corner of YouTube and select Upload Video.

On the next page, before you drag the video onto the page, select your preferences from the list. Private and private are pretty much the same for me, but I prefer private.

Now drag your video to the upload window and let it upload to YouTube. To speed up the process, choose a video that is low resolution and as small as possible. But don’t skimp on sound quality. The worse the quality, the worse the transcription will be.

Access to your translations

Once your video is posted on YouTube, leave it on for a while. I noticed that sometimes it can take a while to transcribe audio. Obviously, the videos are queued for decryption in the order they were downloaded.

Finally, log into YouTube Studio and go to the Transcriptions section.

Click on the video you want to download subtitles for. When a new window appears, select “More Features – Translation and Transcription”.

YouTube Studio is still in beta, so choosing this option will take you from YouTube Studio to the old page format.

Now choose the language in which you want to access the subtitles.

You can technically edit YouTube subtitles, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Instead, I suggest you download a text file and edit it on your computer.

So, click the Actions menu and download the subtitle format you want. The “SRT” format is usually fine.

Edit your translations.

After downloading the subtitle file, a file will be added to your computer that can be opened in any text editor (for example, Windows Notepad or TextEdit on MacOS). Then start looking for mistakes.

DO NOT change the timestamps unless you need to make large changes to the text that can break the video sync. In most cases, this will be a simple case of changing small words and adding punctuation marks.

Save the edited subtitle file and return to the screen where you selected the subtitle file to download. You will see a blue button to download new subtitle files. Choose your preferred language, or find another if the selected language is not already there.

Obviously, you only need to re-upload the YouTube subtitles if you intend to leave the video there.

Once you have selected your language, click on “Upload File” and upload your newly edited subtitle file.

Re-publish your YouTube video with new subtitles, then check it to make sure the subtitles are now in order. Then, remember to go back to YouTube Studio and change the list from private to public so the whole world can see your work.

Facebook also has subtitles

Facebook also has subtitles that are automatically generated, but like YouTube, they’re not perfect.

So you can click the Edit button on any of your videos and download a new set of subtitles, perhaps the ones you just changed from YouTube.

If you’re just looking for a way to add subtitles to your downloaded movie, check out my other post on displaying SRT files in a video player Enjoy!

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