3 Of The Best Options For Closed-Captioning Your YouTube Videos

3 November 2015, 18:04 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:11

We the Unicorns

By Liam Dryden

We're running out of excuses for not making our videos more accessible to everyone. Here's how you can easily make the step to CC'd videos!

We've already touched on our inspiring experience at this year's Buffer Festival, but one point that was left out was the event's massive step up in its efforts to be more inclusive, in both the content and the creators they included in their lineup.

An improved range of race, gender and orientation appeared in 2015's list of Featured Creators: But there was also deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter.

Rikki appeared on both the Science & Education and Women On YouTube screenings, where her featured videos helped inspire Buffer attendees and fellow creators alike to make one major change in their video content: adding closed captions to it for audiences that are deaf, hard-of-hearing or otherwise have difficulty with spoken English.

 Thanks to the efforts of CC advocates like Rikki, more and more YouTubers are taking steps to make their videos more accessible. And with so many options available for making it possible, you can (and should) be one of them! We spoke to a handful of creators to find just a number of ways that you can start captioning your videos easily:


Captioning Services

Instead of going through the slog of transcribing themselves manually, YouTubers have started to outsource the task to professionals, for a fee. Several sites have popped up in recent years to offer their captioning services for as little as $1 per minute of video.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 16.18.26 Rev.com

Sites like Rev.com will take the links of the videos you submit to them, transcribe them, and send you the CC transcript file to add to YouTube, usually within 24 hours. If you have a few dollars extra to invest in making your vlogs more accessible, it's a worthwhile purchase.



Of course, not everyone wants to drop money on captioning, but don't have the time to do it themselves. But many creators have another large and willing resource: their audience.

Some creators will get their viewers to pitch in with the captioning, doing a little bit each to complete the larger arduous task. Something like this can not only get the job done, but help strengthen the community feeling within your audience!


For those who don't have large, eager subscriber bases, sites like Amara.org enable collaborative efforts to caption videos together as a group, as well as the option to include translated subtitles.



The least popular option is, of course, to do it yourself. This takes time and a lot of patience, especially if you have to incorporate transcription time into your video-making schedule, but there will be a lot of viewers out there that appreciate having the option.

YouTube have their built-in captioning service that attempts to transcribe automatically; but as we all know, it's not the best.


But it does allow you to edit the captions it generates; which, while tedious, isn't quite starting from scratch, and also means you don't have to worry about nailing the timecode.


If you want to learn more about your options for closed-captioning videos, you can check out Rikki's video on the subject below - which, of course, is CC'd.