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How Long Does It Take to Manually Caption Videos?

  • Women Typing On A Keyboard

    While it’s certainly easier to have videos captioned for you, a lot of people find the cost to be prohibitive. But is the time that it will take you to caption your videos any better? And how long will it take, anyway?

    How to Caption Your Videos Yourself

    If you’ve decided to forgo contacting a captioning service, the next best option is to caption your video yourself. In order to get both the accessibility and SEO benefits of captions, you have to upload a caption file (YouTube’s automatic captions won’t help – and might even hurt both accessibility and SEO).

    If you want to caption your video yourself, YouTube provides an easy tool to help you get started. Just go to your video manager, find the video you want to caption, and from the Edit dropdown, select Subtitles and CC. Click Add subtitles or CC, select your language, and then choose Transcribe and set timings. This is generally a faster, easier way to add captions (because it sets the timing for you) than choosing the Create new subtitles or CC option, where you have to set timing yourself.

    Select Transcribe and Set Timings

    From Transcribe and set timings, type the spoken text of the video into the space provided. The video will even pause whenever you start typing! When you’re done, click Set timings to sync your transcript with the audio.

    Type the spoken text of your video in the space provided and click Set Timings

    DIY Captioning: How Long Does It Take?

    YouTube’s tool gives you a fairly easy way to caption videos yourself, but the question remains: how long does it take to caption your video? Well, that depends on how many videos you’ve captioned before, the nature of your video, and the duration of your video.

    On average, it takes about 5-10 times the duration of the video to caption it. If your video is 2 minutes long, then spending 10 minutes captioning it doesn’t seem unrealistic. However, if you’re producing 20 minutes of content every day, you may want to look into alternative routes of captioning, such as a captioning service.

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