Community Hosted YouTube Subtitles

While this post doesn’t directly relate to retro-gaming, it affects everyone in the community:  YouTube has recently announced that they’re removing support for community-submitted subtitles in video.  Their reasons are as follows:

Community contributions will be discontinued across all channels after 28 September 2020. Community contributions allowed viewers to add closed captions, subtitles and title/descriptions to videos. This feature was rarely used and had problems with spam/abuse so we’re removing them to focus on other creator tools. You can still use your own captions, automatic captions and third-party tools and services. You have until September 28, 2020 to publish your community contributions before they’re removed.

I always talk about how happy I am that we’re able to make the world a “smaller place” by doing things like fan translations of video games, which allow people to experience a game and culture that they might not have been able to before.  I was also blown away the few times someone dedicated their time to translating a video I did, so more people would be able to experience it.  While I guess people can still create subtitles and email them to content creators, not all creators are easily accessible.  Or have time to keep up with things like that.

Luckily, a group of people have come to the rescue and created a project that’s potentially a long-term solution for the issue.  Here’s how it works:

Head to and enter the link to a video.  It will list if any subtitles are already posted and if not you can upload ones you’ve created in .srt format.  Those subtitles will then be stored on the website and any time someone enters that video’s link into the website, you’ll have the ability to choose from any of the subtitles people uploaded.

I just tried this out on an interview I did with Artemio, that an amazing member of the retro gaming community was nice enough to create Spanish subtitles for:

I think this service is amazing and hope they’ll consider adding support for YouTube’s much-needed competition like BitChute and LBRY.

Also, I can’t help but add my personal thoughts on YouTube’s citing of “rarely used and had problems with spam/abuse”:  Just because something’s not the most popular feature, doesn’t mean it’s not important.  Most people go their whole lives without being in a car accident, but should car companies just stop including airbags?  Also, while every creator has to deal with some form of SPAM or abuse, almost all of us would endure a bit more if that meant expanding our audience to reach people who don’t speak our native language.  Removing this feature for abuse is like removing forks from restaurants because you’re afraid someone might get stabbed ;/

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