YouTube Subtitles on a Mac
The video I’ve embedded here, which subscribers may have already seen, is a segment from the NHK Matsuyama Branch about one of the summer camps I went to. I had commenters asking me what was being said. I knew that real subtitles (not hard subtitles, where the text is actually part of the video itself) were doable through the Closed Captioning options on YouTube. I’d seen it done bilingually lots of times by one of my favorite Japan-related YouTubers, Hikosaemon. (Go subscribe if you’re curious!) I set out to try and do so myself, but felt discouraged after watching several tutorials – all of which used Windows software. Until I could find a Mac-viable option, it looked like creating a text file with the proper format by hand was my only option…
Just in the nick of time, before I attempted to do captions the hard way, one of my commenters came to my rescue and told me to check out a free subtitling program called Miyu. (Thanks, shrgnatlas!) I downloaded the program and left it in the middle of my desktop so I could try it when I came back from Okinawa. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m back from Okinawa. Ha ha ha. I uploaded the files, and I’m stoked with the results. There are some line-length problems and whatnot, but I felt like it went pretty well for my first ever attempt at bilingual subbing!
I found using Miyu to be pretty easy once I got the hang of it. What I wound up doing was creating English subtitles first, and then using the same timing to swap Japanese subtitles in. Here are two screenshots of Miyu at at work, in English and Japanese. (And I’m just using the standard Mac OS Japanese input Kotoeri setup, by the way.) I’ve not pictured the playback monitor here, but it’s just the video with some editor controls on it and the text displayed with the proper timing – it updates as you alter things on the fly, too.
If you’re curious about the type of file that pops out of Miyu’s export dialog, here are my examples. I exported my subtitles as .srt files, which are recognized by YouTube. SRT files are actually just TXT files (like sooo many kinds of files out there) that follow a specific pattern – that’s why you can
easily create them manually. If you’re curious like me, you might open these SRT files you’ve just created in the go-to Mac program TextEdit, but you might panic when you see the Japanese results. Let me assure you that this gobbledy-gook is to be expected – that file is the exact file that I uploaded to YouTube, and you can see that it renders there no problem. There is probably a different text editor that can handle the proper character encoding, but I’m too lazy to look it up. If you’d like to see the raw .srt files themselves, I’ve uploaded them to my server so you can take a peek. Please play around with the video above to swap out subtitle tracks on the go and compare. Then try your own hand at it and drop a link in the comments if you like.