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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.

2 Responses to How Long Does It Take to Manually Caption Videos?

  1. David Marker says:

    There seems to be a semantic confusion between the words subtitles and captions.
    Subtitles are words on the screen which show the words being spoken. Being a little hard of hearing myself I use this a lot with the TV.
    Captions are not the same. Captions are short bursts of description about what is on the screen.
    I want Captions. No problem, easy enough to do, but they normally only last for 2 or 3 seconds. I want to set the time on screen to 10 seconds.
    I have done it with some but not with others and I don’t know how it has worked sometimes and not othertimes.
    How can I time captions please?

    • In North America, captions generally refer to the text that appears on screen that describes both spoken dialogue audio and sound effects. Subtitles appear on the screen to translate the language being spoken into the listener’s language. Control over how long captions appear on screen is limited to the video player you are using. If you cannot or don’t want to pause the video to read the captions, some players, like YouTube, have user-controls that allow you to slow down the speed of the video in order to read the captions. Otherwise, it is difficult in cases where there are fast speakers or lots of dialogue. You just have to pause the video or decide on some other method that works best for you, such as getting a transcript of the video, if you want to absorb all of the information in the video.

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