Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to download the CC transcript of a Youtube video

It's possible to show captions on some videos using the "CC" button. (Not all videos have "CC")

There used to be a way to retrieve the transcript file with a modified API URL, but Youtube has changed it's API to prevent that. It's still possible to get the video transcript, but now it's more difficult to get.

Skill Level: Mildly Difficult (4 out of 5)


After you install Firebug, you need to restart Firefox. Steps to retrieve transcript.
  1. Go to the youtube video.
  2. Firefox Menu > Tools > Web Developer > Firebug > Open Firebug (or press F12)
  3. Go to Firebug tab "Net"
  4. If "Net" is disabled, click on the little triangle next to "Net" and choose Enabled.
  5. Reload the Youtube page in Firefox. (Firebug should still be showing.)
  6. After the video starts playing, pause it.
  7. Press the "CC" button, and turn captions ON.
  8. Type "timedtext" into the Firebug search box (top-right).
  9. Find the second instance of "GET timedtext"
  10. Right-click on the "GET timedtext", and select "Open in new tab"

The new tab will contain the transcribed text. Cheers.

If someone could help get this done using a bash script, that would be Greatly Appreciated!


  1. Not exactly a bash script, but here's one way to script it in Ruby:


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