If you haven’t created captions before, you may want to try using transcripts. Transcripts are simple, as they only contain the text of what was said in the video and don’t require any time codes.

Automatic timing

The key benefit of a transcript is automatic timing – once you have added your transcript, speech recognition technology automatically matches your captions with what is said in the video. Videos that are less than an hour long with good sound quality and clear speech are the best. Remember that the transcript must be in the same language as is spoken in the video.

Automatic timing is available in the following languages:
  • English
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish


You can create a transcript in one of two ways:

1. Type the text directly in YouTube

Go to your Video Manager and add captions. You'll be able to type what was said in your video directly into the video transcript text box. Your video will automatically pause as you type. 

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to help you type your transcript:

  • Type SHIFT + LEFT or click the rewind icond  to rewind your video 5 seconds.
  • Type SHIFT + SPACE or click the play icon  to pause/play your video. 

2. Create a transcript file

In order to create a transcript file, type the text of what was said in your video and save it as a plain text file (.txt). You can do this by converting other formats (such as Microsoft Word, HTML, PDF) into a plain text file or you can use native programs on your computer such as TextEdit or Notepad.

In order to get the best results, use these formatting tips:

  • Use a blank line to force the start of a new caption.
  • Use square brackets to designate background sounds. For example, [music] or [laughter].
  • Add >> to identify speakers or change of speaker.

Here’s an example of what your transcript file might look like:

>> ALICE: Hi, my name is Alice Miller and this is John Brown

>> JOHN: and we’re the owners of Miller Bakery.

>> ALICE: Today we’ll be teaching you how to make
our famous chocolate chip cookies!

[intro music]

OK, so we have all the ingredients laid out here

For non-English language transcript files, we recommend saving the file with UTF-8 encoding to improve display accuracy:

PC instructions
  1. Open Notepad
  2. Click File then Save as
  3. Select Text Documents (*.txt) under "Save as type2" and choose UTF-8 under "Encoding"
Mac instructions
  1. Open TextEdit
  2. Click Format, then select Make Plain Text
  3. Click File, then Save
  4. Select Unicode (UTF-8)


Was this article helpful?