How to Add Subtitles to a Video: Tutorial With Examples

How to Add Subtitles to a Video: Tutorial With Examples

Many people like to watch videos with subtitles or captions. As a content creator, you need to know the difference between these options, and when it’s the right time to use them.

Captions write out all of the essential audio happening in the video. They go beyond the dialogue and also record important background noises, inflection in speech, and the emotion suggested by music. They help people who are hearing impaired better follow the content.

You can also have both open and closed captions. Open captions live permanently on the screen. Users, however, can turn closed captions on and off depending upon need and preference.

Subtitles record only the dialogue. In most cases, they translate the audio into another language so more audiences can enjoy the video.

With the exponential growth in video content in recent years, subtitles and captions have also grown in importance. It can help people appreciate the videos regardless of the media player or mobile device.

In this article, we explore why you should add these features to your videos and how to do so across multiple video platforms and tools.

How to add subtitles with YouTube

Most people think of YouTube when they create videos for their brand. It is the second most visited site globally, which means the videos you upload here can potentially reach a tremendously large audience.

YouTube offers three options for adding subtitles to your videos. We will give you a quick overview of each.

  1. Begin by going to the YouTube Studio Editor. This allows you to modify and edit the video files you have uploaded directly.
  2. Click on the “Subtitles & CC” button. From here, select the language of the subtitles you want to add. You can even upload the subtitles in different languages if you want your video to play to a large international audience.

Now, you will have three options for adding subtitles.

  • Upload a caption file. This option works best if you already have the transcription completed somewhere else. You can upload this existing file to the video to ensure the subtitles are correct, rather than relying on anything automatically generated. You will likely use something called an SRT file or SubRip Subtitle file, which will include the timecode stamp. However, you can also use a basic transcript file with only text.
  • Transcribe and auto-sync. This option allows you to type as the subject in the video speaks. You can use this method to enter the subtitles by hand.
  • Create new subtitles and CC. This is YouTube’s auto-transcription option. You can use the transcript YouTube auto-generates and edit it directly. Many find this shortcut faster than typing everything by hand. While the algorithm and speech recognition work well, you should verify the subs are written correctly.

How to add subtitles with Vimeo

Vimeo is another popular video platform that sees an impressive 260+ million users. Videos posted here can also reach a tremendous audience.

1. Open the desired video in the video manager.

2. Select the Subtitles button.

3. Select the “+” button. Once you reach this step, you will need to note the language your subtitles will be in. Vimeo accepts a few different file formats to add the subtitles. Specifically, you can add your subtitles with WebVTT, SRT, DFXP/TTML, SCC, and SAMI files. However, it recommends WebVTT. It also recommends that you use UTF-8 format to make sure special characters display correctly.


4. Finally, upload the file from your computer. Once you have selected your file and uploaded it to the video platform, you will need to activate it. Simply toggle over the file to do so. Click on the three dots if you need to edit the file.

How to add subtitles with Premiere Pro

Adobe’s Premiere Pro is a popular option for editing videos. You can create both open and closed captions for your video.

To create captions in this platform, you will do the following:

  1. Select the project you want to add captions to.
  2. Select the New Item menu, which you will find at the bottom of the panel.
  3. Click on Captions. You can set any settings for your captions, such as the height and width of the text.
  4. Drag the captions into the video and line them up with your voiceover.
Premiere Pro

You can make any adjustments by going to the Window Menu, where you will find editing options for your captions.

How to add subtitles with PlayPlay

PlayPlay is an online video editor that lets you create customized videos, including adding subtitles to the videos you create.

1. On the PlayPlay editor, click the “+” icon to add a new screen. This will cause a pop-up screen to appear.

2. Next, select “Quotes & Subtitles.” You will need to drag and drop your video into the “Media” field. From there, you can add additional important information, such as filling in the “Name” and “Job” fields.


3. Once this is filled out, add the subtitle text and sync it with the video. You can select either Basic Subtitles or Advanced Subtitles. With basic subtitles, you can type past your text and use editing options to make sure it appears as you want. With advanced subtitles, you can enter your subtitles with timecodes, using as many timestamps as you want. Once you finish adding the subtitles, you can preview your video and subtitles together.

4. Click save.

How to add subtitles with Camtasia

Camtasia is a type of video editing software that users appreciate for the various features offered, including screencast capabilities, special effects, and creating transitions. Follow these steps to add subtitles to your videos on this platform:

1. Click on the “More” button.

Camtasia 1

2. Select “Audio effects” from the side panel.

Camtasia 2

3. Click “Caption” and drag it to the audio track. Since you are making a video, your audio track is also the video track. This will give you the waveform and split your captions into four-second segments.

4. Fill in your text and sync it to the video clip. You will click on each caption segment that you want to fill with text. You can use a playback feature to keep looping a particular video segment as you transcribe it until you get the entire piece recorded. You can also adjust your captions to make sure they last for the right duration.

5. Finally, click on “Export Captions” to save your work as an SRT file.

How to add subtitles with Knowmia

Knowmia gives users a way to create and store videos they can then share with others. The platform has seen particular popularity among teachers who need to create videos for asynchronous learning. Follow these steps to create subtitles for this content.

1. Click on the “Accessibility” tab.


2. Click on “Add caption track.”

3. Select “Speech-to-text.” This will automatically transcribe the audio of your video. You will just need to wait a minute for it to finish.

4. Edit the subtitles. When the transcription is ready, you can use the subtitle editor to check it, correct any errors you find, and sync it to the video. Always review the subtitles to ensure they are correct.

5. Click publish.

The importance of subtitles

People often use subtitles when they watch videos. In fact, Facebook users view as many as 85% of posted videos with the sound turned off. These convenient video features can help viewers enjoy the content without needing sound. They also benefit the video itself in a variety of ways. Here are some of the principal benefits of including subtitles in your videos.

  • More inclusivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 430 million people worldwide have hearing loss, and that number is expected to exceed 700 million by 2050. These viewers likely struggle to watch standard videos without subtitles or captions. Including subtitles or captions in your videos will help you fully engage all potential viewers, regardless of their hearing capabilities.
  • Build a wider reach for your videos. Using subtitles can also help expand your reach with your videos. Many videos are watched by people who do not speak the language of the video natively, and over 80% of traffic on YouTube comes from outside the United States. Adding subtitles can help international audiences fully engage with the video content, even if they speak a foreign language.
  • Get more attention for your videos. Subtitles also benefit your search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines can’t “watch” videos. They depend on other factors to help them determine the video’s topic and value. The closed captions or subtitles you add to your video can be indexed, which helps search engines better understand the video content. It also increases the number of keywords associated with your video and boosts the number of searches you can appear in.
  • Increase the average watch time for your business. Video producers should also note that customers like subtitles. When videos have subtitles, people tend to increase their engagement and even watch more of the content. For example, subtitled YouTube videos see about a 40% increase in watch time. As for subtitled social media videos, Facebook videos see a 12% increase in watch time. In general, users are 80% more likely to watch a video to the end when closed captioning is available.

Find independent video editors for your next project

If you have created videos you want to share with your target audience, prioritize adding captions. They will help potential viewers better engage with your videos and help you reach your content-related goals.

If you have created videos and want to find help editing the content and producing subtitles, see what you can accomplish with professional, independent video editors from Upwork. As the largest freelance platform, Upwork makes it easy to find the right experienced professional for your job. They can help you manage tasks like adding subtitles to your videos to improve engagement. You can easily review their portfolios of work and find the right editor for your project. You can also browse Project Catalog ™ for predefined projects.

Professional video editors can also find numerous clients interested in their services. If you want to find work as an independent video editor, view the job opportunities available only on Upwork.

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How to Add Subtitles to a Video: Tutorial With Examples
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