YouTube terms

Closed Captions

Text overlays that provide a transcript of the audio.

What is closed captions in YouTube?

Closed captions on YouTube are a feature that provides a text version of the audio content playing in a video. They are designed to help viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow the dialogue and understand what is happening in the video. They can also be beneficial for viewers who speak a different language, as they can be translated into multiple languages.

The captions are either added by the video uploader or generated automatically by YouTube's speech recognition technology. They can be turned on or off by the viewer as needed. It's important to note that the accuracy and quality of the captions can vary, especially for those generated automatically.

How do I turn on closed captions in YouTube?

To turn on closed captions in YouTube, first, open the video you want to watch. At the bottom of the video player, you'll see a row of icons. Look for the one that looks like a small box with lines inside it, this is the "CC" or "Subtitles/Closed Captions" button. Click on this button to enable the captions. If the button is grey, it means that captions are turned off. When it's turned on, the button will change to a different color.

If the captions are not available in your language, you can change the language settings. To do this, click on the gear icon (Settings) next to the "CC" button. A menu will appear, click on "Subtitles/CC", then "Auto-translate", and choose your preferred language from the list. Please note that the accuracy of translations can vary.

Are closed captions automatically generated on YouTube?

Yes, closed captions can be automatically generated on YouTube. This feature is powered by Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. The platform uses this technology to convert the speech in a video into text and display it as closed captions. However, it's important to note that the accuracy of these captions can vary and may not always be perfect. Factors such as the clarity of speech, background noise, and the speaker's accent can affect the quality of the auto-generated captions.

Despite this, YouTube also provides the option for video creators to manually upload their own captions or use a professional captioning service. This can help ensure the accuracy of the captions, especially for videos that contain technical language or are in a language that the ASR technology may struggle with. Additionally, viewers can also contribute translations and transcriptions to videos, which can then be reviewed and published by the video creator.

How can I edit or customize closed captions on my YouTube video?

To edit or customize closed captions on your YouTube video, you first need to sign in to YouTube Studio. From the left menu, select "Subtitles". Then, choose the video you want to edit. Click on the "Edit on Classic Studio" option next to the video. This will take you to a page where you can see all the subtitles that have been added to the video.

To edit the subtitles, click on the language you want to edit under the "Subtitles" column. This will open the subtitle editor where you can make changes to the text, timing, or layout of your captions. Once you're done editing, click on "Publish edits". To customize your captions, you can change the font, color, size, and background of the text. Remember to save your changes before exiting.

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