Reading YouTube Transcripts

Hello. I have been struggling with reading a few lessons that I imported from YouTube videos. Does anyone else have trouble with YouTube lessons since they have no punctuation? Just curious. Thanks.

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You need to find videos with quality subtitles.
Check this video, for example:

I found it searching for Deutsch Leben in the Youtube search and then filtering by subtitles.


Thank you for the tip. May I ask what you mean by filtering subtitles?

When you do a Youtube search there is Filter link at the top of the page. Clic that link, and then select Subtitles/CC to filter by subtitles. Filtering by subtitles means you will get videos with subtitles in the search results. Those subtitles are usually not automated subtitles, but subtitles made by humans.

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That is good to know. I have gone through and deleted most of my imported lessons because they had no punctuation. Just as it is a process to learn a language it is a process to learn all the features of LINGQ :slight_smile:

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Yes youtube videos are often just a stream of consciousness type situation so yeah there is often no punctuation at all. In my case I use youtube primarily for listening comprehension and just stop it and grab a word if it’s interesting to me to add to my list of “known” words, but otherwise don’t really use it for reading in the same way I would use e.g. the lingQ mini stories.

Yes I see that now :sweat_smile:. I had hoped YouTube transcripts would be simplified written materials on some of the eclectic topics I like to read (autism, zoology, religious cults, etc.); because if I ever found German ebooks on these kind of subjects they would be way over my head at this point. Oh well!

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What I will say about youtube videos is that they are absolutely awesome for improving listening comprehension. My method is find “TPRS” type videos at the beginner stage. Then find “intermediate” videos (by searching for the words “intermediate german podcast” for example). Then gradually move to native non teaching material stuff.
There is also a TV show in the style of “friends” called “Extr@ German” which slowly builds up vocabulary and grammar from scratch that is actually entertaining to watch.


It’s been awhile since I’ve done such a search, but I think that filtering in youtube does also include ones with “auto-generated” subtitles. You can check for sure on the video itself by clicking the “gear” icon for settings. Then selecting subtitles. If it has the autogenerated it will say so next to i.e. German (auto-generated). You want to find ones that just say German. Those will be subtitles that were done properly and will have punctuation, capitalization, etc. These are the ones you want.

Since you are studying German I can give you a few channels that typically have good subtitles. Maybe you’ll find them interesting.

By the way…as I’m looking at some of these, you’ll see a blue “cc” label on the videos page under the videos that have real subtitles…for example Bayerischer Rundfunk (3rd link below) has a mix. The ones with the blue cc have the good subtitles.

Wanted Adventure - YouTube (not native speaker, but U.S. female living in Germany)
reporter - YouTube
NDR Doku - YouTube
ARD Reisen - YouTube

If you haven’t found it yet, Easy German is a great youtube channel too…Only issue is that they “imprint” there subtitles, both German and English together, so when you import it just brings in the Auto generated German subtitles. If you become a patreon you can get the german only transcripts to import into LingQ. Either way, they are still a great resource even if you don’t become a patreon, just have to watch them outside of LingQ to take advantage of the real subtitles. They also have a great podcast. Again, you can get transcripts for this to if you become a patreon member, but either way it’s still a great listen. Pleasant voice too…so even when you can’t understand it’s a nice listen =)

I am noticing as I’m posting the link that a couple of their longer ones do have good subtitles and the blue cc flag.

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Thank you for these. It will be very helpful. I don’t think I’ve seen any of these except the Easy German channel. It is not really easy for me yet as far as listening goes. I have to pay close attention to the subtitles. But I’ll get there eventually :-).

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Most are still very hard for me too! Always progressing though, however slight it seems.

In case this is your first non-english language there are a few stages I’ve noticed that you can use as milestones to notice your improvement:
<note: this is for listening as that’s what I focus on>

  1. you can’t understand anything and you can’t make out where the gaps are between words
  2. you can recognize where the gaps are between words but understand nothing
  3. you can recognize a word here and there but understand nothing because your brain is too slow
  4. you can recognize a word here and there and you understand the word as you hear it
  5. you can recognize a couple of sequences of words and also understand one or two of them
  6. you can understand half of each sentence and have a sense of the conversation
  7. you understand or recognize most of each sentence and have a pretty decent sense of the conversation; at this point it feels like you’re starting to understand

The above sequence will happen for each of the following in order of difficulty:

  1. youtube videos with TPRS type teachers first
  2. youtube videos with free flow spoken teacher style material spoken slowly, clearly, without slang and using only intermediate vocabulary
  3. news
  4. free flow podcasters on youtube
  5. childrens TV shows
  6. telenovela type material
  7. native language tv shows on netflix/movies

I really appreciate all these tips. It is my first foreign language and I would say that I “understand or recognize most of each sentence and have a pretty decent sense of the conversation; at this point it feels like you’re starting to understand.” (#7 on your list) That is for READING subtitles on German/German dubbed TV programs on Prime Video. I can follow the story pretty easily. (I’m hoping I can stream movies from And I am almost at that point in reading ebooks

Of course LISTENING COMPREHENSION lags way behind. I have located some listening comprehension practice videos on YouTube (Kendra’s Language School, and Deutsch Verstehen).

So many resources to choose from; just have to find the ones that “click”. :slight_smile:

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