Add caption tracks to your video files

Make your video content accessible to a broader audience with captions. Captions help people with deaf and hard of hearing viewers or for speakers of different languages. Also, the text in the captions is searchable in your Documents List, making it easy find your uploaded videos.

You can use two types of files to add captions to your video:

  • A caption file: This file contains the text and the timing information of your video.
  • A transcript file: This file contains only the text. If you upload a transcript, the player will use an auto-sync feature where algorithms determine when the words should be displayed. Transcripts require extra time to process, can vary depending on the length of the video, and can only be processed in English or Japanese.

Preparing your caption file

Simple caption formats that are compatible with the formats known as SubViewer (*.SUB) and SubRip (*.SRT) are supported. Although you can upload your captions/subtitles in any format, only supported formats will be displayed properly on the playback page.

Here are some common captioning practice that help readability:

  • Descriptions inside square brackets like [music] or [laughter] can help people with hearing disabilities to understand what is happening in your video.
  • You can also add tags like >> at the beginning of a new line to identify speakers or change of speaker.

You can obtain software to let you create these files, or ask other companies to do this for you, often for a small fee. Learn more about how to create caption and transcript files.

How to upload captions

Once your uploaded video file has been processed, you can add a caption to it by following these steps:

  1. From your Drive, click the title of the video to open it. Then, click the Edit menu and select Manage caption tracks.
  2. Click the Select file button.
  3. Click Select file... and choose the caption or transcript file from your file selector.
  4. Select the language for your captions. The default language for your captions will change depending on your language setting.
  5. If you want to change the title of your caption track, type it in the text box.

How to edit and manage captions

  1. From your Drive, click the title of the video to open it. Then, click the Edit menu and select Manage caption tracks.
  2. To change the title or language of the caption, or to enable and disable a caption track, click a track's Edit button.
  3. To delete tracks, click the X at the end of each row.

To edit the text of your captions, download the caption track, edit the text and upload the file again.

How to translate captions

Once you upload caption tracks to your videos, you can automatically translate them. When viewing a video, click the Closed Captioning icon and select Translate Captions.

Sharing settings and access

The video's sharing settings will also apply to the captions. If a collaborator has edit access to the video, they'll also be able to upload and download captions for the video.

Error messages

If you received an error while uploading your file, check if the file is:

  • In the correct format. We support formats that are compatible with known formats SubViewer(*SUB) and SubRip (*SRT).
  • Too big. Your file needs to be less than 2MB.
  • Longer than the video. If the transcript file or caption track is longer than the video, the auto-syncing feature won't work properly.