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How to Add Captions to YouTube Shorts: 5 Easy Steps & Troubleshooting

How to Add Captions to YouTube Shorts: 5 Easy Steps & Troubleshooting
Ortal Hadad
Content Specialist & Blog Editor
Last Updated:
March 5, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Every month, more than 2.3 billion users worldwide visit YouTube, and that number shows no signs of slowing down. 

Increasingly, audiences are turning to YouTube’s latest content offering: YouTube Shorts. These short-form videos are YouTube’s answer to popular video-sharing formats many users are familiar with from TikTok and Instagram Reels. 

One of the keys to succeeding is increasing the reach of your Shorts, and a great way to do that is through captions. Adding captions to your YouTube Shorts can help you enhance accessibility and reach new audiences.

Wondering why? The article below will explain how to add captions to your YouTube shorts, and we’ll explain exactly why you should. Here’s everything you need to know, including a troubleshooting guide!

Why should you add captions to YouTube Shorts?

On social media, captions can be a valuable tool! Used well, they can help you attract more people to your content and improve engagement within your virtual community. Here are a few of the key benefits to keep in mind. 

Enhance content accessibility

Research shows that as many as 69% of people view online videos in public with the sound off. This can be detrimental to your engagement rates if your content relies centrally on audio materials. 

By adding clear captions to your YouTube Shorts videos, you can enhance accessibility for your audience. This means that viewers who are hard of hearing or are otherwise unable to listen can still enjoy the content you produce. 

Ultimately, using captions in this way can set you up for greater success. Your content will be easier to consume across a wider audience than ever before. 

Diversify your audience with SEO

Captions are also a great way to start diversifying your audience and achieving better reach results for the video content you produce. 

Search engines use captions to identify what your content is about and what search terms it best suits. If you use relevant keywords consistently throughout your video, they’ll reflect in your captions, and search engines are more likely to rank you for these terms. The morw terms you rank for, the more you can increase your reach.

We suggest taking some time to do some keyword research and include relevant terms in your content. It’ll help you grow your reach and target specific audiences more effectively.

Boost content quality

When you’re trying to make an impact online, quality is paramount to your success! The higher your standard of work, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to access new opportunities and growth pathways. 

Captions allow you to enhance the professionalism of your videos. You can use well-planned and well-executed captions to highlight the value of your content and showcase the quality you offer. 

Over time, better-quality videos can help to improve your reputation as a creator. This may mean big things for your future in the content space. 

Work with the algorithm

In many cases, good video captions can help you win over the YouTube algorithm. This can allow you to maximize your reach and put your content on the world stage, where it is easier for more people to find your account. 

Captions provide additional keywords and SEO data that the YouTube algorithm can use to categorize and display your videos more effectively. This can make your content more easily searchable for other YouTube users.

When you use captions to work with the algorithm, you can make the most of every opportunity to improve your search engine optimization and achieve maximum reach. 

Grow your accounts

The many benefits that captions provide can work together and contribute to better growth opportunities for your YouTube account. This could be the first step in taking your brand to the next level. 

By implementing an effective caption strategy, you can capitalize on a wide range of growth pathways and strategies. As you grow your account, you can earn more reach and engagement for your content, inspiring ongoing growth into the future. 

YouTube Shorts requirements for captions

When producing YouTube Shorts, there are a few requirements you’ll need to be aware of to ensure that your videos comply with site regulations. 

On YouTube, Shorts should appear in a vertical frame with an aspect ratio of 9:16. The video should not exceed 60 seconds in length. Your captions need to apply to content that matches this format.

As you work on captioning your YouTube Shorts, it’s best to keep any text well within frame, ideally away from the edges of the screen, which could obscure your captions from view. Place your caption groups somewhere toward the middle of the frame while aiming to avoid obscuring important visual details. 

Read more: YouTube Shorts Dimensions | Tips & Recommendations

How to add captions to YouTube Shorts automatically on YouTube

Wondering how to add captions automatically to your YouTube Shorts? You can add captions to your videos automatically using YouTube’s built-in voice recognition tools. Follow these simple steps to get started. 

Step 1: Sign in and upload content

In order to begin, you’ll need to sign in to the YouTube Studio. While it is possible to do this from a mobile device, logging in from a desktop is usually best, as this will provide you with better access to the controls you need. If you have not already uploaded your video, you’ll need to use the Create button at the top-right of your screen.

Step 2: Select your video

Next, it’s time to start adding subtitles! From the sidebar menu on the left of your screen, select the Subtitles icon, which should appear fifth in the list. This will prompt a list of your uploaded videos. From this list, select the video you want to add captions to. If you have never added automatic subtitles on YouTube before, you will be asked to confirm your language settings.  

YouTube subtitles option

Step 3: Set your video to draft mode

If your video is already live, it is likely that YouTube will automatically apply subtitles to your published video content. If you want to review and edit your subtitles, click the ellipsis symbol on the right side of the video toolbar. Here, select ‘Duplicate and Edit’

adding new captions to YouTube Shorts

Step 4: Edit your captions

A window with a copy of YouTube’s subtitles will appear. Here you can use the text boxes to edit the text that appears. You can choose to:

  • ‘Edit as Text’: This will show you a plain text transcript
  • ‘Edit Timings’: This is a time-stamped version of your subtitles. You can also click and drag along the subtitle timeline to alter timing. 

Simply edit you text, fix up types and if you want to add a new line of captions, select the ‘+Caption’ button. 

Adding Captions to YouTube Shorts

Step 5: Save and publish

When you are happy with your updated YouTube subtitles, you click the Publish button at the top of your screen to save all your changes. Once you save your edited subtitles, you can unpublish, or delete YouTube’s original automatic transcripts if you like.

Accurate captions for YouTube Shorts with Riverside

Adding Captions to YouTube Shorts on Riverside

While Youtube’s automatic captions are fast and simple, they’re not always the most accurate. They're also not open captions. If you’re looking for better accuracy for your captions, Riverside can help! 

Riverside offers studio-quality recording and editing with a user-friendly interface and various AI features to streamline your workflow. You can record with up to 8 remote participants and expect up to 4K video recordings without worrying about your internet connection.

You’ll receive highly-accurate AI transcriptions straight after recording. Transcriptions are available in over 100 languages, and you can download them as an SRT file ideal for captions or a TXT file for content repurposing. It’s also possible to directly add open captions to your video. You can style these captions and position them as you like. 

The editor also works with these AI transcriptions to offer you text-based editing. Any text you delete in your transcripts implicates the same changes in your actual recording. Easy as that, you can benefit from highly accurate Ai transcriptions. 

Key features:

  • 4K video resolution and up to 48kHz audio quality
  • Transcripts have automatic speaker identification for up to 7 speakers
  • Highly accurate transcription available for over 100 languages, immediately after recording
  • Automatic timestamps that make it easy to identify audio timelines 
  • Subtitles available in both TXT and SRT file formats
  • Caption YouTube videos at the tap of a button and choose your own style, font and color
  • Text-based editing, so creating quality videos is as easy as reading through a doc
  • AI Magic Clips tool which repurposes key moments of your recordings into effortless Shorts.
  • Automated tools for removing silences, customizing your video and fine-tuning audio.
  • Web-based system with no download required

How to add captions to YouTube Shorts with Riverside

Transcribing with Riverside is easy! Follow these steps to get started.

Step 1: Log in to Riverside, and invite up to 7 guests to join your recording. 

Step 2: Hit Record to start capturing high-resolution video and high-quality audio content.  

Step 3: When your recording is complete, press Stop, and select View all recordings from the sidebar on the right of your screen. 

Step 4: Choose the take you want to transcribe. Scroll to the ‘Recording Files’ section and you’ll see an option to ‘Download’ your transcriptions. 

Step 5: Select ‘Subtitles’ for an SRT file, or Transcript, for a TXT file transcript.

Step 6: If you want to edit and burn captions into your video, click ‘Go to Editor’

Use the editor toolbar for:

  • Captions: Click on this to add captions to your video. You can choose a style, then drag the captions on your video frame to readjust their position.
  • Size: This changes the aspect ratio of your video. 
  • Layout: Rearrange how you would like to layout your speakers.
  • Background: Add your own, or adjust your background as you wish
  • Logo: You can upload your own brand logo and position it as you like.
How to add captions to youtube shorts

Step 8: Export your video, and wait to receive an email with your finished video.

Step 9: Log in to your YouTube Studio and upload your video content. When your video is ready to edit, select Subtitles from the menu on the left side of your screen.

Step 8: Here, select the video you want to add subtitles to. Click on  ‘Add Language’, then select your language. Click ‘Add’>’Upload file’, and upload your Riverside transcription file. 

Step 9: Wait for your upload to complete before setting your YouTube video live. 

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Troubleshooting YouTube Shorts captions

While adding captions to your YouTube Shorts can be easy, there are some common challenges you may run into. 

In some cases, YouTube’s automatic transcription tools may have trouble picking up accurate transcription results, especially if your video has a lot of speakers or unclear audio. When this occurs, you can use the subtitle editing features to adjust the text that appears in your video manually. 

Sometimes, captions may fail to appear on your live video, even when the subtitle feature is switched on. In this scenario, you may need to try clearing your browser history, cookies, and cache or watching the video on another browser to see if the problem persists. 

What languages does YouTube captioning support?

YouTube currently offers captioning across a range of languages. You’ll have to select the language that applies to your video when you launch the platform's subtitling tools. You can also sometimes use YouTube’s in-built features to add translated subtitles to your content. 

FAQs on YouTube Shorts captions

Still unsure about how best to approach captions for YouTube Shorts? Here are our answers to a few frequently asked questions. 

Can you edit captions on YouTube Shorts?

Yes, you can! You can manually edit your subtitle text using YouTube’s in-built captioning tools. However, you’ll need to duplicate YouTube’s original transcript to make any required edits. For this reason, it’s usually best to try to finalize your captions ahead of time, allowing you to keep your video live once it has been published. 

How do I remove captions from YouTube Shorts?

If you want to remove captions from your YouTube Shorts video, you can do so by signing in to YouTube Studio and accessing the caption tool from the left sidebar menu. In the subtitles column related to the video you want to edit, select Options, and proceed to delete your subtitles before saving your changes. 

Ready to get started adding captions to your YouTube content? Try Riverside audio transcription now!

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