How to create captions and subtitles for YouTube videos using Captionfy (even if you are not the owner of the video).

May 10, 2021

There are inifinite reasons to add subtitles on YouTube videos. This article explains how to do it in a simple way step by step, using Captionfy (for free).

Step 1 - Choose a Youtube video you want to caption

I am going to use Risk Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up Music Video. Once in the YouTube video page, you can copy the URL (highlighted on the top of the image below):

For this video, the URL is

Step 2 - Paste the Youtube video URL into Captionfy’s search:

Step 3 - Click on search (by clicking the little 🔎 icon in the search box), and then click the “Create Subtitles” button

Here you will also find any captions created on Captionfy for that video. In this case there is already captions in English made on Captionfy for this master piece video.

Note: If you are not logged in / signed up, you will see a popup asking you to do so. It is very quick and uses Google Authentication.

If you are logged in, you can either choose to create captions (via the editor) or upload an existing caption file. For this article I am going to create captions in the editor. So just click on “Create captions!”

Step 4 - You will be redirected to the editor for that video.

The editor has multiple helpful tools that can get you started quickly. I will list them in the next steps. The first thing you need to do in the editor is fill out the form it gives you upon entering:

In the form above you need to choose the language of the captions you are creating. In my case I will choose Portuguese-BR (my mother tongue). And the video title I will keep empty (I am choosing to keep the original title), and also there is no Captions Detail I would like to mention (like accent or dialect).

If you are using the editor for the first time, you are going to see a tour in the editor after filling the language form. The tour will help you understand what each part of the editor does.

Step 5 - Once you chose your language, you can start working on the editor.

The first thing I always do is check if there are existing captions for that video on Youtube. To do so, just click on the “Start from existing captions” button.

Step 6 - Use existing captions (if available)

You can select the language and click “Start from existing captions”

Step 7 - See the existing captions result and work from there

Step 8 - Translate existing subtitles (if you want it in another language)

If you want to use auto translate to do a faster translation, you can click on the “Translate” button. It will use Google Translate’s API and convert the captions from English to the language you choose (in this case Portuguese-BR).

Once you hit “Translate captions” it will convert it to the language chosen and that’s it! Now you can start reviewing the translation and fixing any errors.

Step 9 - Review the translation by playing the video or simply scrolling through the caption blocks.

I notice for example that the current text could be replaced by “Um compromisso total é o que estou pensando” and I can change the text directly in the text box on the right.

Step 10 - Save the captions after you finish or save a draft to finish later

Once you click save, it will give you multiple options:

  • Allow other users to collaborate — this will make the captions editable by any Captionfy user, and it is recommended to be used for long videos, or when you cannot/don’t want to finish the video alone. For these captions, since I have finished them, I am not choosing this option.
  • Publish/Save as private — I choose publish, so that anyone can watch the video with these captions on Captionfy. Private would only allow me to see these captions.
  • I want to stay anonymous — You can select this if you don’t want to have your Captionfy username linked to these captions, and nobody will know it was you who made them. I choose not to stay anonymous, since I prefer to get the credit for this translation.
  • Caption Status (finished/work in progress) — I finished my work with these captions, so I choose it to be finished. However, if you want to finish the captions later, it is good practice to select Work in progress here, to let viewers know it is still a draft.

Step 11 - Done! You have created subtitles for a YouTube video on Captionfy

You can now share them with your friends or the Youtuber themselves, so that they can download the captions and upload them on the Youtube video! Any view made via Captionfy also generates a real view to the Youtuber, since Captionfy is embedding the original Youtube video.


I hope Captionfy can be a simple tool for anyone out there creating captions for Youtube videos. If you need any help using the platform, you can let me know at Have fun using it and I hope you like it! Thank you for reading this article! [Edit] If you would like to watch a video with a tutorial about it, you can watch the video here.

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