Closed captions are an important accessibility option for those that are hard of hearing. YouTube includes support for them on all videos. Unfortunately, while captions can be added to any video, the process of synchronising the captions with the video is time-consuming, even if there’s a script to import. This issue is even worse for less prepared videos where no script is being followed, as captions would first have to be transcribed, then synchronised.
To help with this, YouTube can automatically generate captions based on voice recognition software. This feature, however, is not enabled on all videos and is not perfect when it is used. As with any voice recognition software, the transcriptions are not 100% accurate.
Still, for YouTube users with hearing impairments, the option of occasionally incorrect captions is better than nothing.
Captions need to be enabled through the video player in a video that supports them. To access the option, tap the triple-dot icon in the top-right corner of a playing video.
In the video options that appear, tap on “Captions” to configure the caption options.
Tip: If the “Captions” option is not present on the video, try a different video, preferably a scripted video from a bigger channel that would have been more likely to upload captions. The option can only be configured on videos with captions enabled.
You’ll now be able to choose between the available captions. You can disable captions or enable them by tapping the relevant language. It’s likely that only one language of captions will be available. Automatically generated captions will be easily identifiable with the “(auto-generated)” tag on the end of the name of the language.
Tip: Enabling captions on one video is a setting that will be remembered. Future videos that you watch that support captions will have them enabled by default.