The key benefit of using the YouTube transcript feature is automatic timing--once you add your transcript, speech recognition technology automatically matches your captions with what is said in the video. Videos that are less than an hour long with good sound quality and clear speech are best. Remember that the transcript must be in the same language as is spoken in the video.


Transcripts only contain the text of what is said in the video without time code information. YouTube will automatically synchronize provided text with your video, but the transcript must be in a language supported by our speech recognition technology, and in the same language as is spoken in the video. Transcripts are not recommended for videos that are over an hour long or have poor audio quality.

Note that both caption files and transcripts may incorporate sound cues like or to identify background sounds.

Automatic timing of uploaded transcripts into captions on YouTube is available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

How to add transcripts to your videos

  1. Visit your Video Manager and click the drop-down menu next to the "Edit" button for the video you’d like to add captions to
  2. Select Captions
  3. Click the Add captions button. (If you’ve already added a caption, click the Add a new track button and select Upload transcript)
  4. On the next page, choose Transcript. 
    (if you are working with timecoded caption files click here for extended instructions on YouTube)
  5. Enter a track name for reference if you wish
  6. Type your transcript directly into the Video Transcript box or click Upload transcript and select the file you want to upload
  7. Click Sync



You can create a transcript in one of two ways:

1. Type the text directly in YouTube

Go to your Video Manager and add captions. You'll be able to type what was said in your video directly into the video transcript text box.

2. Create a transcript file
In order to create a transcript file, type the text of what was said in your video and save it as a plain text file (.txt). You can do this by converting other formats (like Microsoft Word, HTML, PDF) into a plain text file or you can use native programs on your computer like TextEdit or Notepad.
In order to get the best results, use these formatting tips:
  • Use a blank line to force the start of a new caption.
  • Use square brackets to designate background sounds. For example, or .
  • Add >> to identify speakers or change of speaker.
Here's an example of what your transcript file might look like:

>> ALICE: Hi, my name is Alice Miller and this is John Brown

>> JOHN: and we're the owners of Miller Bakery.

>> ALICE: Today we'll be teaching you how to make
our famous chocolate chip cookies!

Okay, so we have all the ingredients laid out here

For non-English language transcript files, we recommend saving the file with UTF-8 encoding to improve display accuracy: