You’d be surprised how useful people find subtitles to be. Many might think subtitles at the bottom of the screen can ruin your movie watching experience but some people genuinely benefit from them. For some it’s a better viewing experience, for non-native speakers of a particular language subtitles can serve as a good learning tool, and anyone with a hearing impairment can watch movies without any trouble. If you’re watching a DVD or a Blu-Ray, getting subtitles is no problem. A simple Google search will help you find millions of resources for movie subtitles. Now imagine you wanted to download subtitles of an instructional YouTube video and you will find you have far fewer options. Here are three ways to extract subtitles from a YouTube video.
Web App – KeepSubs
KeepSubs is the easiest way to get subtitles from a YouTube video. All you need is the link, and for the video to have subtitles. Visit the app, paste the link to the video in the input area, and click ‘Download’. Depending on the video, it may have subtitles in more than one language. KeepSubs offers to translate them to other languages though the translation might not be very accurate. The subtitle file is in SRT format so it will be compatible with many popular media players, and you will be able to open it with a simple text editor.
If your browser supports HTML5 videos, then you don’t really need a special tool to get subtitles although you might have to spend a little time editing the XML file which is the disadvantage that comes with this method. Open a YouTube video and let the page load. You don’t need for the entire video to finish buffering but make sure you turn on closed captions. If you aren’t trying to download the closed captions but rather the subtitles included by the uploader, you can skip this step.
With the video open, open the developer tools and go to the Network tab. If there is a filter or a find feature, use it to make the job easier. Look for the entry that begins with ‘timedtext?’ (see screenshot below) and open this file in a new tab. It will open an XML file with the subtitles.
Desktop App – Google2SRT
This is a simple little app that can download subtitles from a YouTube video using nothing more than the video’s URL. Select the web option and paste the URL in the Google Subtitles fields. Select a language and click Go.