The Difference Between YouTube’s Automatic Captions, DIY Captions, and 3Play Media Captions

February 4, 2019 BY JACLYN LEDUC

The Ultimate Guide to Captioning - learn more about the benefits of captions.

Investing the time (and potentially money) into captioning your YouTube videos is well worth it. If you don’t believe us, just check out Discovery Digital Networks. They conducted a controlled study that showed a 7.32% increase in views after adding captions.

Closed captions can boost video SEO and improve the user experience. They also make videos accessible to a broader audience. Now that you know the benefits of closed captions, let’s discuss a few different ways you can caption YouTube videos.

YouTube’s Automatic Captions

Have you ever watched a seemingly innocuous video with YouTube’s automatic captions? If not, go check it out.

As you’ll find, YouTube’s captioning doesn’t always get it right. In fact, accuracy rates can be as high as 80% under good conditions and as poor as 50% under bad conditions. Also, because YouTube is aware of the inaccuracy of their automatic captions, neither Google nor YouTube will index these captions for search purposes. However, YouTube does allow you to edit their automatic captions, which you should definitely do if you want to ensure that they’re accurate.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Video Manager, select your correct video, then click Edit > Subtitles and CC.
  2. Click on the caption track you wish to edit.
  3. Edit the text and save changes. (Note: You can edit timecodes the same way.)

How to Add Closed Captions to YouTube Videos – For Free

CIY (Caption It Yourself)

Captioning your own content is a great way to prevent automatic captioning from mangling your words. It also guarantees that you’re providing meaningful text for Google and that Google and YouTube are actually indexing your captions.

Provided it’s not your first time, self-captioning a five-minute video takes about 5 to 10 times longer than the length of the video itself. In 25-50 minutes you could increase your views and the accessibility of your videos.

Here are the steps for captioning your video yourself and uploading them to YouTube:

  1. Create captions using a DIY caption service like CaptionTube, Subtitle Horse, YouTube Subtitler, or Magpie. You can also create captions on YouTube by typing the transcript from scratch and syncing the time-codes on your own.
  2. Download your closed caption file.
  3. Upload the captions to YouTube.

DIY Workflows for Captioning YouTube Videos

The 3Play Way

If you’re consistently posting new videos to YouTube and have a popular channel, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to caption everything on your own. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy, reliable, and almost immediate service that could do it for you?

With 3Play Media, the process of captioning a lot of videos has never been easier. First, link your 3Play Media account with your YouTube account; doing this allows caption files to be to be added to your YouTube videos. Next, select the videos you want captioned, choose the turnaround option that suits your preference, and captions will be added to your YouTube videos when they’re complete.

3Play Media guarantees that your caption file will be at least 99% accurate, and there’s no minimum or limit to how many videos you can submit.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Sign in to 3Play Media.
  2. Select the videos you want to be captioned.
  3. Sit back and relax, then check out your channel to see your freshly captioned video!

Get started captioning your YouTube videos today


This post was originally published on May 22, 2014, and it has since been updated.

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