English to Spanish subtitles for YouTube

How to add subtitles to YouTube videos (and quickly edit your captions)

Mar 9, 2021 | Blog, How-to

Add subtitles to YouTube videos to increase the accessibility and ranking of your videos

Choosing to display captions or add subtitles to YouTube videos can help you increase your audience in a few different ways. In this article, we’ll focus on how to add and easily edit subtitle files in different languages to your videos on YouTube. If you’re already familiar with YouTube captioning options and want to learn how to edit and translate YouTube subtitles quickly, scroll down to learn how spf.io makes your YouTube workflow more efficient and affordable.

Captioning files can include written dialogue in the language that the audio is in (closed captions) or in another language (subtitles, which are written translations of the original audio). Including captioning files with your YouTube videos helps your content reach those with hearing loss (around 48 million people in the USA alone!).

Videos get more views and subscribers when there are closed captions and subtitles. People often watch videos without sound, and they are more likely to keep watching if closed captions are displayed. Since search engines like Google access captioning files and treat them as metadata, captions help people find your video more easily. Google can index and rank your content more easily when you provide captions and subtitles, helping you expand your audience.

Youtube + spf.io

1. How Youtube integrates with spf.io

2. How to generate and edit captions/subtitles with the Automatic Subtitle Translation Tool

3. How to community-source Youtube video translations and captions

Adding subtitles to YouTube also
increases your international reach and helps language learners understand your content better. Offering captions in different languages makes it easy for people around the world to find and watch your videos. It also encourages users to share your content more widely, especially if you add subtitles to YouTube videos in several additional languages.


You can add subtitles to YouTube videos a few different ways

Getting accurate subtitles might sound like a difficult task at first. Luckily, there are a few ways to add subtitles to YouTube videos. We’ll review them in the tutorial below:

 You’ll learn how to use spf.io’s Automatic Subtitle Translation tool, which is a quick and accurate solution for generating multiple subtitle files for YouTube (much easier than editing these files manually yourself!). 


Creating a subtitle file using a human translator

For accurate subtitles in a different language, you can hire a human translator. For example, you might want a Spanish translation for English captions from a YouTube video. However, this method is more expensive and may take longer, especially if you need subtitles in multiple languages. Additionally, you would still need to adjust the timing of the subtitles manually. Since many languages are structured differently, you would reassign timings after splitting the translated sentences back into shorter phrases.


Creating a subtitle file manually by translating pre-existing captions

Another way to translate captions into subtitles is to edit the original captions into a transcript that can be used with a tool like Google Translate. This method takes a while because it involves manually reformatting the translated transcript back into a subtitle file (one for each new language) that YouTube can use.

1. Usually, you start with captions in the language that your audio is in (in this example, the original language is English). These captions are often stored in a .srt file containing the closed captioning text, alongside information about start and stop times for the text displays.

How to translate captions from English to Spanish: Original English captions

2. Automatically generated captions don’t often have punctuation, so to get a better translation, you would remove the timings to create a transcript with complete sentences from these subtitles. You would then edit the transcript for accuracy.

How to translate captions from English to Spanish: Edited English transcript

 Without this step, many automatic translators will interpret each line as a partial phrase, resulting in poor translation quality.

For example, the second caption in our example is a partial phrase: “you a quick demonstration of a new product” (EN).
Translated, it becomes “usted una demostración rápida de un nuevo producto” (ES), which is a much less accurate translation since it is missing the first part of the sentence.

3. You would then generate a Spanish translation with a tool like Google Translate, and paste the translated transcript back into your document. It’s useful to start a new line for each sentence so you can keep track of which translation belongs to which sentence, especially if you are unfamiliar with the second language.

How to translate captions from English to Spanish: English to Spanish translation of a transcript

4. To create the Spanish subtitles for your video, manually copy and paste sections of this translation into a new file containing the timing of your text.

How to translate captions from English to Spanish: Spanish subtitles with timing added

5. Finally, you would save the captions as a .srt file. To add these subtitles to Youtube, you would upload each of your captioning files (one for each language) for the videos in question.

Although you can generate subtitles for free using this method, it takes a lot of time, and it can be frustrating to keep track of how the translation matches up with your subtitle timestamps.

Creating subtitle files automatically using spf.io’s Automatic Subtitle Translation tool

Companies today use artificial intelligence to make communication easier and faster. Spf.io offers this otherwise expensive technology to YouTube Creators at an affordable price. This makes your workflow for producing captions and subtitles quick and easy (Spf.io can help you livestream with captions as well!).  

Spf.io allows you to organize, edit, and quickly create subtitle files using AI-assisted tools, automatically translating your captions into subtitles with accuracy. Since it uses an intelligent algorithm, the timings in your subtitle files will be transferred with no effort from you at all! Using spf.io’s YouTube integration, you can get better results without all the manual work that the previously mentioned methods will require.

The magic of spf.io is the ability to associate a pre-translated document with your subtitles behind the scenes. Instead of translating subtitle by subtitle, it works at the sentence level while preserving timings, resulting in high-quality automatic subtitle translations.

1. With spf.io, all you need to do is link your YouTube account to spf.io’s dashboard. Spf.io automatically imports the captions from your videos.

Download YouTube captions automatically

2. Then, introduce punctuation to the English captions.

Add punctuation to YouTube automatic captions

3. With the click of a button, spf.io translates your edited English captions to Spanish subtitles in spf.io. During this process, it intelligently assigns subtitle timings for the new Spanish translation.

How to get Spanish captions for YouTube: Automatic translation from English to Spanish

In this screenshot, Indonesian subtitles have been added already.
Click the “+” to add another translation and simply select Spanish from the dropdown list.

Behind the scenes, spf.io automatically creates a transcript from your edited English captions and translates it to Spanish during this step. By associating the Spanish transcript with your Spanish subtitles, it can reassign logical subtitle timing without losing accuracy from the translation (you also have the option to save this transcript separately).

If you attempted to directly translate the captions without spf.io’s help, the line-by-line translation would happen at the level of broken phrases rather than complete sentences. 

How to get Spanish captions for YouTube: accurate Spanish subtitles with automatic timings in a .srt file

4. To add your subtitles to YouTube, click “Upload” for each language file. Since spf.io is connected to your channel already, you can easily upload multiple translated captions all at once in spf.io.

Add subtitles to YouTube in over 60 languages

As you can see, we’ve automated the lengthy process of re-introducing timings to the translated subtitles. There’s no need to go back and forth between a transcript and .srt file while editing. Spf.io’s Automatic Subtitle Translation Tool will do the heavy lifting of preserving timings and translation accuracy in your subtitles for you! 


Use spf.io to manage, organize, and batch edit captions for YouTube and more

Spf.io uses cutting-edge translation technology to help you create and edit your captions, all in one place. Our Automatic Subtitle Translation tool saves you time when you want to add subtitles to YouTube videos quickly and accurately. All you need to do is add punctuation to your auto-generated transcript, and spf.io does the rest for you! You can also use the .srt files generated from this process for additional video-hosting platforms like Vimeo. If you’re interested in livestreaming with captions, spf.io does that as well.

Often, other auto-captioning or subtitling tools display captions that are too long or poorly timed since they don’t associate a transcript with your subtitles. With spf.io, you can automate your workflow and make it easy for your team to add high-quality subtitles to YouTube. Since we don’t charge you to add new members to your team, it’s a great replacement for YouTube’s discontinued Community Captions feature. With access to over 60 languages, spf.io’s Automatic Subtitle Translation tool will save you time, money, and effort while increasing your channel’s reach. It only takes a few steps to get subtitles for YouTube using spf.io – click here to get started!

Ready for the next step?

Find out how spf.io can help you make your next event accessible.

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