YouTube gets subtitles.

September 3rd, 2008 by Jarmo Puskala

It seems YouTube has added a new feature that let’s you add subtitles to a video. This is propably the most usefull new feature they’ve added since the higher quality videos.

I’ve been testing it with couple of old videos embedded in the bottom of the post…

It seems there are couple of problems with the subtitles. The first one is that you can only see the subtitles when you’re watching the video on YouTube. The embedded videos don’t have them. That sucks, but it’s more of a feature than a bug.

The second problem is that at least with our videos there are some strangeness in the timing of the subtitles. When you time them according to the YouTube video (as in the angry producer clip) it’s all fine. But a subtitle file timed on the original video file seems to come early on YouTube.

Example of this can bee seen in the poor folk’s food tip clip. The subtitles you see in the image are from the same file as the YouTube subtitles. However, for some reason the separate subtitles appear half a second or so earlier. The timing is the same, the only difference is that the subtitle file was converted to a subviewer file that YouTube can handle. So it would seem like the video wasn’t playing at the exactly same speed, or that the theplayer starts counting the time before the actual video starts.

In the short clips the slight speed difference doesn’t matter, but with In the Pirkinning it might get real bad if the video indeed is not playing at the same speed.
Sp please Google, can we have subtitles on embedded videos too? And possibly an explanation about the timing thing? It would be great to upload In the Pirkinning with subtitles in all the major languages (and we will). It would also be great if some enterprising soul(s) wanted to subtitle the Signal episodes. It could be done in peace after they’ve been uploaded and then adding the subtitles later would be easy.

Anyway, here are our brave test files – unfortunately without subtitles.

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6 Responses to “YouTube gets subtitles.”

  1. Saba says:

    Obviously these clips have “burnt in” subtitles, or the problem has been solved?
    I saw subs on embedded clips, and there was no trace of any kind of delay.

    If they werent “burned in” and nothing seems to be fixed at you end then it might also be client related problem?

    Maybe I just go get more coffee…

  2. Saba says:

    Coffee seemed to help.
    My brains turned back on.

    Now just forget every damn word I wrote on my earlier message.

  3. The “food tip” has burnt subtitles, the angry producer doesn’t have any. So if you see subtitles in the first clip then you’re seeing something that I’m not.

  4. Mia says:

    It seems like the two videos were created with slightly different options. In the first one, captions are disabled by default, but you can turn them on via the genie menu (bottom right corner of the video). The second video doesn’t have the option to turn the captions on or off and the captions are on by default. Tweak the video settings and your problems will be solved :).

  5. razvan says:

    An interesting website that allows adding subtitles to the YouTube videos is

    Anyone can add new subtitles or edit the existing ones. When watching a video on youtube you can just change the URL address from to and you will be able to watch the video with subtitles.