A trove of YouTube multi-lingual captions, and how to search for specific texts


Looking for Bulgarian content I recently found that some of the TED talks feature captions in many languages (not auto-generated). For example, many of you may know this talk about polyglots and how they learn languages, but maybe were not aware of all of the languages available for captions::

The secrets of learning a new language | Lýdia Machová - YouTube.

You can download the captions in your target language (or bilingual version) using e.g.

You can make a parallel reader by downloading your target language and then mother tongue and put into a document as 2-column table. Of course this is text only, no audio to accompany, but I was thrilled to find Bulgarian captions for a wide variety of interesting topics (and interesting is the key, as we all know, to motivation in language learning). And of course you can easily input into Lingq.

Also I found that you can search for videos that have a particular word or phrase in the captions, and this is a great way to find videos with captions in your target language. For example, to find all videos wit the word обич type

“обич”, cc

in YouTube search. All of the videos that come up in that search have Bulgarian captions. I found an entire playlist with Bulgarian subtitles: null - YouTube and so now have no lack of interesting, intermediate content.


Exceptionally useful, matey :grinning:
I’m addicted to that channel!

This looks very interesting but I don’t understand one thing. How can you search for Youtube videos that only have captions? And in a specific language? That would be great to save a lot of time.

In the SEARCH box, just enter:
“the text you wish to search for”,cc
the whole thing, inluding the “” and ,cc

The ,cc is for closed captions (subtitles - sototitoli) - blimey, I actually remembered that word - Anki ftw!

I tested it by entering the following:
“Quindi il pronome sta sempre al posto di qualcos’altro”,cc
and the following video was the first in the list
PRONOMI PERSONALI in italiano (soggetto e riflessivi) - Learn Italian PERSONAL PRONOUNS 😯😦😧 - YouTube

I actually grabbed that text from the video, to see if it would come up with that video first in the list, and it did.

Awesome, thanks, I’ll definitely do some research with this method.

What I’ve noticed is that the little subtitle icon changed a bit from the old LingQ instruction I read before. I don’t see CC overlaid on the icon anymore. But I can see that Youtube seems to give videos with subtitles in the search results. I just hope those are not auto-generated.

I also noticed a red line below some cc icon, probably when the text has some “bad” language, no idea.