Can't I add some kind of string to the URL of the video to make it start off with the subtitles on and in the "right" language?

We do have the option to have the video start up from a particular time, so why not subtitles too?

And, Google Translate does add those strings to the URL (e.g. http://translate.google.com/#en|nl|), so I don't understand why the same is not automatically happening on YouTube too.

  • Did you ever find a way to do this? Seems hard to believe that it's not possible. Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


Captions are on by default. You can force the language with hl=<lang> but there shouldn't be a need.

hl stands for host language meaning that as long as the host language is set by default there should be no need to send it as a parameter.

Try it yourself,

  • Go to YouTube
  • Scroll to the bottom and select a language as your default
  • Now go to a video with multiple subtitles. Your default language will bring up the respective caption (not the first one in the list)
  • 1
    Hmm, that might be right, but I want to transfer this selection to another, unrelated PC ! I want to be able to share a video with a language-specific subtitle overlay. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 18:12
  • 1
    Have a look at this: support.google.com/youtube/bin/…
    – lobner
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 15:35
  • @lobner: I guess that only works for embedded videos? Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 9:55

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