Manually Transferring Subtitles from Amara to YouTube

Posted on August 6, 2014


A couple of years ago I helped with the Open Video Workbook, that included a chapter on creating subtitles using Amara. I recently used Amara again, and discovered that the interface has changed some. This is good news. It’s faster and more intuitive. This post isn’t about creating subtitles, but transferring them manually from one to the other.

There is an option to connect accounts, but I’m not sure what it does. I haven’t tried it out. In part, I wouldn’t want anything to be added automatically. It’s still easy to mess titles up, by accident or in bad faith. And there’s no way on Amara to limit who can edit subtitles, other than a paid account which last time I checked seemed to be mostly available for companies and not in a reasonable price range for the occasional user.

So keeping the two separate and transferring them manually allows for that control, to make sure the subtitles on YouTube are the correct ones, and a troll can’t just go changing them to “All work and no play…” or something similarly entertaining.

Start on the Amara page where the video is embedded. First, select the language you want to transfer to YouTube: Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 00.25.37Next select SRT from the dropdown when you hover over “Download Subtitles” at the top right: Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 00.02.44Save the file somewhere where you can find it again. I like to keep a folder with translations as a back up.

Next, go to the video on YouTube and select the icon for closed captions (it always looks like a Creative Commons icon to me which I find vaguely confusing): Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 00.00.50This brings you to the caption editor. Find the language you want to upload by selecting from the dropdown or typing in the field: Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at files come with finished timecode, so you can upload the file directly rather than deal with the timing on YouTube: Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 00.02.02Hit publish and you’re done! YouTube should display subtitles by browser language preference, the more you add the better.

Posted in: misc