How to download subtitles or captions from YouTube

YouTube is probably the most used digital tool in classrooms all over the world today and lends itself for a variety of purposes ranging from short listening comprehension during classes to flipped classroom activities.
Often it would be useful to have the subtitles (captions) available for preparation or follow up activities, particularly in foreign language classes. Unfortunately there is no option to download subs from YouTube directly. There are, however various workarounds. The fastest way is also the geekest one and it works like this.
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  1. Open the video you want to extract the subtitles from in Google Chrome.
  2. Turn on the subtitles in the bottom right menu (often only auto-generated subtitles are available, which you might still want to download, even though the transcription is not perfect). Turn on developer tools and filter for “timedtext” and you get the URL link to the chosen subtitles file  in xml format (open by double clicking and a new broswer tab will open).
  3. To extract the text from the xml file I save it to my Drive (using the “save to Drive” Chrome extension).
  4. Finally I open the XML file with the oXygen XML Webapp (you have to connect it with xml files once using the “connect more apps” option when opening it). And voilà. That’s all you need to do.

Screenshot 2015-03-23 at 14.41.07.png
If you find that method too geeky, here is another one:
Use to donwload an .srt file. Rename the file to .txt and then you can manually copy the text from the file - however it takes much more time than the first method which really only takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it. 

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