How to Force Closed Captions to Appear on Your YouTube Videos

Updated: January 4, 2018


Have you ever wished that you could make people watch your video with captions? Well, we’re going to show you just how to do that! You might want to force captions on your YouTube videos for a few reasons.

3 Reasons to Force Closed Captions On

  • First of all, you might want to force captions on if your audio quality is poor. Say there’s background noise, or the sound is muffled or quiet: rather than losing viewers because they can’t hear what’s going on, now they can read along!
  • Another reason to force captions on is if the speaker in your video is hard to understand. If they have a thick accent, speak quickly, or are discussing complex content. Forcing captions on will help the viewer comprehend your content better and hopefully increase viewer retention.
  • The third reason to force captions on is simply for accessibility. They allow people to view your videos in sound-sensitive environments, allow people with hearing impairments to follow your content, and make English content a lot easier to understand for people who know English as a second language. Also, even if anyone can turn on captions, very few people think to do so or know that it is an option.

How to Tag YouTube Videos to Force Captions On

It’s really easy to force captions on in a specific YouTube video. You simply have to add “yt:cc=on” as a tag to that particular video!

Force Captions on with Tags in YouTube/

How to Force Closed Captions in a YouTube Video Embed

If you’re going to embed your YouTube video on your website and you want to force on closed captions, you need to add “cc_load_policy=1” to the end of the source URL inside the iframe:

Embed Code for Forcing Captions On

How to Force Closed Captions in Other Languages

Say you want to force captions or subtitles in a different language to appear in an embed on your website. This is most useful if your site exists in multiple languages: you can show the same video but force on different languages when appropriate. Of course, you must first upload the language file to your YouTube video! First, find the appropriate language code. Say you want to use Spanish captions: the code is es. You just need to add “&hl=es&cc_lang_pref=es” (remembering to use the correct language code) before “cc_load_policy=1” in the iframe embed.

Note that “hl” sets the language for text features in the YouTube video, and “cc_lang_pref” sets the language for the captions of the video. This is what your embed code would look like for a video in which you want to force captions on in Spanish:

Embed Code for Forcing Foreign Language Captions On
Always remember to test the embed codes before publishing!

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