Commons:Timed Text

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Translate this page; This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

For other uses, you may be looking for Commons:File captions.

TimedText is a custom Wikimedia Commons namespace to hold closed captioning text, or subtitles, to be associated with other media, such as audio or video files. This page intends to explain the feature's concept and use.

Closed captioning (CC) and subtitling are both processes of displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information. Both are typically used as a transcription of the audio portion of a program as it occurs (either verbatim or in edited form), sometimes including descriptions of non-speech elements. This aids hearing-impaired and deaf people and provides a way for non-native language speakers to understand the content in a multimedia file.


Example video player

Also see Commons:Video#Subtitles and closed captioning.

Thumbnails of videos and audio clips that have closed captioning available will show the CC icon overlayed. After opening the player, subtitles in your language are automatically enabled. You can find the CC icon in the controls of the player to switch between languages, toggling subtitles on and off, or to change the formatting of the subtitles.

Timed Text can be used for any media that is presented in a time sequence:

  • Audio file
  • Silent video
  • Spoken video
  • Animation demonstrating a concept or how something works

Actual examples


Looking for a Timed Text
Add below the name of the video to search
(do not delete the TimedText: prefix, add the text after it, e.g. TimedText:Elephants_Dream.ogv).
REMINDER : If the TimedText doesn't exist, don't forget to add language & extension, e.g. to create a TimedText page. see Commons:Timed Text

Commons needs a means to find Timed Text files for specific languages; the following suffer from the Search function's limitations (such as: it does not show all matches; it includes non-matches; it needs regular expression support). Search including some Timed Text .srt files in different languages:


Other methods to help user find Timed Text:

  • {{Closed captions}} displays links to all the closed captioning files available for a file, can be placed on a media page and its talk page.
  • {{special|Prefixindex/TimedText:{{PAGENAME}}.|stripprefix|1|subtitles}} yields a link to all related Timed Text files (example).
  • Commons:Timed Text/search by lang displays search links for all Timed Text files for a given language, useful for Commons pages, Categories and Talk pages.

Marking and Finding videos that need subtitles

The template {{Captions requested}} can be used to mark that a video needs caption. The template add it to the category Videos needing subtitles, so one can see which videos, users or authors have requested transcripts.

This template and category is in the scope of Commons:WikiProject Deaf and its sisters meta:Deaf Wikimedians and Wikipedia:WikiProject Deaf.

Finding videos that need subtitles translation

One way to find such videos, is to open one of the subcategories of Category:Files with closed captioning depending on the preferred starting language, and then to use Help:FastCCI (on the top right of the page) to include only the videos that don't have subtitles for your preferred target language.

  • To find videos with subtitles in English to translate them, go to Category:Files with closed captioning in English.
  • Then, click on the FastCCI arrow to open the sub-menu and select "In this category but not in..."
  • In the textbox, enter the corresponding category depending of your preferred target language:
    • For German, enter Files with closed captioning in German
    • For French, enter Files with closed captioning in French
    • For Russian, enter Files with closed captioning in Russian


Timed Text talk

The TimedText talk namespace is for discussing the respective Timed Text pages, but it could also be used to link and categorize the Timed Text page.

Maintenance tasks


To upload an already created subtitle file, open the file on your computer in a text editor (such as Notepad) and copy the text into a new page in the TimedText namespace that matches the filename of the video and the language code.


Commons uses the SubRip (.srt) file format for closed captioning and subtitles. You can create these files in multiple ways.

Create subtitles page for existing Commons files

TimedText link

Option 1: in the Commons page of the file (recommended)

You can use the "TimedText" link at the top of any suitable multimedia file on Commons.

Option 2: directly in the media player

Location of the CC-button

By using the CC button in the toolbar of the Wikimedia HTML5 media player, you can select subtitles if they are available, or open the Subtitles editor to create subtitles for the video.

Option 3: creating a blank page (for advanced users)

You can always directly create the page in Commons using the template TimedText:[Common_File_Name.extension].[language].srt, where [Common_File_Name.extension] is the name of the file, and [language] is the ISO code for the language.

Example: to add subtitles to Elephants_Dream.ogg, you can create the page for english subtitles, or for french subtitles.

Extracting existing subtitles to import them

Create Subtitles from DVD

To copy existing subtitles from a DVD you can use software such as SubRip. You can then copy-paste them in the wiki Commons subtitle page.

Create Subtitles with YouTube

YouTube allows users with a YouTube account to create subtitles out of any uploaded file. Keep in mind the speech recognition is automated and produces unexpected results. It is preferable to upload a transcript of the file to YouTube. This will provide a much better result. You can then copy-paste them in the wiki Commons subtitle page.

Steps to create the subtitles (a video tutorial of the steps can be found here):

  1. Upload the file. (The multimedia file must also include a video track but you are free to choose a blank one or any other)
  2. While uploading set the Video language for your file to the appropriate language under the "Show more" menu.
  3. Or, after uploading, select "Subtitles" in the specific videos Details or in the YouTube Studio navigation.
  4. Click on "Add" or "Add language".
  5. You can add subtitles in one of three ways:
    1. Upload a transcript in the proper format.
    2. Copy and paste the transcript.
    3. Type manually while watching the video.
  6. The captions are then integrated into the video.
  7. Download the .sbv file from the Subtitles menu under the three dot menu while in the "Edit Timings" view.
  8. Convert the contents of the .sbv file into .srt file. There are various online tools to help with this step.
    1. ffmpeg is one open-source option (directions).
  9. Upload the .srt file to the corresponding page of the video on Wikimedia Commons.

Convert YouTube Subtitles to Timed Text format

SBV Subtitles

If you export the SBV format from YouTube subtitles you can use ffmpeg to convert the subtile file to the SRT (SubRip) format used by Commons. This feature also solves the overlap issue that is common when converting YouTube subtitles to Commons.

ffmpeg -fix_sub_duration -i input.sbv

XML Subtitles

Slides 10-12 describe subtitles creation in YouTube Creator Studio, downloading YouTube subtitles in SRT format, uploading result subtitles to Wikimedia Commons TimedText.

This section describes how to convert XML YouTube subtitles to SubRip (srt) format, that is TimedText subtitles format used in Wikimedia Commons.


  • the YouTube video has subtitles in some language (e.g. I created this YouTube video with subtitles in English, in Russian and in Livvi-Karelian languages),
  • this video was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons (e.g. this file),
  • you want to copy YouTube subtitles to the same video at Commons.


  1. Download the subtitle in XML, put the ID of the YouTube video at the end of the URL:
  2. Install Ruby.
  3. Download a Ruby program to convert video subtitles from YouTube's XML format to the SubRip format.
  4. Run this program and convert XML file to .SRT file.
  5. Copy and paste the contents of the .SRT file into the corresponding page of the video on Wikimedia Commons.

General tips

Noise, etc.

Keep in mind to paraphrase unspoken sounds and surround them with rounded brackets, e.g.

 00:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,400
 (engine sound)


Music should be surrounded by the ♪ character, Unicode U+9834, or Alt+266A. You can also use ♫ Unicode U+9835, or Alt+266B, e.g.

 00:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,400
 ♪ rock music playing in the jukebox ♪
 ♫ she's singing ♫


The only supported markup of the SRT format is

  • Bold – <b> ... </b>
  • Italic – <i> ... </i>
  • Underline – <u> ... </u>

REMINDER: Wikicode formatting is not supported.


After the subtitles have been transcribed in the original language of the video onto a Timed Text file, they can be translated into other languages as follows:

  • Open the Timed Text file in the original language, say English for example TimedText:Elephants, in edit mode and copy the whole of the page.
  • In the address bar replace "en" with the language code of your choice, say "fr", then paste the original text in the new page.
  • View the original video, then translate the text into your language.
  • After saving the new page, the video with the subtitles should load onto the page; you can view it to check the timing of the subtitles.
  • Add a category link to the talk page [[Category:Timed Text in Language Name|Language Name]]. For example, see TimedText talk:Elephants

Wikipedia articles about the topics of Timed Text or subtitles

These are articles about either Q844253: Timed text, or Q204028: subtitle.


This section needs expansion.

How to associate closed captions with multimedia files?

A possible categorization scheme is:

 [[:Category:File formats]] + [[:Category:Media types]]
               [[:Category:Timed Text]] + [[:Category:Legend in German]]
                           [[:Category:Timed Text in German]]
                                   + [[:Category:Legend in French]]
                           [[:Category:Timed Text in French]]
                                   + [[:Category:Legend in English]]
                           [[:Category:Timed Text in English]]

Related categories: Category:Files with closed captioning

See also