How to add subtitles to a video

Struggling to add subtitles to your videos? Learn proven strategies in our comprehensive guide, highlighting its impact on SEO and accessibility. Become a subtitling pro today.

Sharing your wisdom through webinars, podcasts, and other videos isn’t always enough, you need to ensure your message is received loud and clear. That's where learning how to add subtitles to a video comes in.

Think of captions and subtitles not just as a tool for overcoming language barriers, but also playing a key role in boosting your watch time, SEO and engagement.

So let's dive right in.

TL;DR: Chopcast is the fastest way to generate highly accurate subtitles for your webinars and podcasts, for free.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Add Subtitles to Your Video?
  2. Is There a Free Subtitle App?
  3. What App Automatically Adds Subtitles?
  4. Best Programs for Adding Subtitles
  5. Apps for Subtitling Videos
  6. Automating Subtitle Addition
  7. Websites That Add Subtitles Automatically
  8. Free Video Editors with Automatic Subtitles
  9. Easiest Way to Add Subtitles
  10. Impact of Subtitles on SEO
  11. How to Localise Your Subtitles
  12. Adding Subtitles to Your Next Webinar
  13. Subtitling Your Podcasts
  14. How Subtitles Increase Video Engagement
  15. Making Your Content Accessible with Subtitles
  16. Using Time Codes for Subtitling
  17. Hard Subtitles vs. Soft Subtitles
  18. Optimising Subtitles for Search Engines
  19. Deciding on a Transcribing Service
  20. Common Mistakes To Avoid When Adding Subtitles

How to add subtitles to a video

Why add subtitles to your video?

Video content is king. But there's more to it than what meets the eye. The catchphrase 'content is king' could easily change to 'accessible content is king.' And this is where subtitles shine bright.

Subtitles, or closed captions, offer an extra layer of information that can significantly impact your viewer engagement levels as well as your SEO performance. Remember that search engines crawl text, not spoken words. Hence, providing subtitles means more indexable phrases and keywords for search engines to locate your video, improving your search rankings.

Ready to learn how to add subtitles to your video? Let's start with a few frequently asked questions on the topic.

Is there a free subtitle app?

Yes, there are free subtitle apps out there. Nevertheless, quality varies, and you may face limitations, be it on the number of subtitles you can create, the video length, or the languages available. Often, subtitle apps can be tricky when dealing with different languages or dialects. Make sure you're looking for one that factors all those in (humble brag). You can always pay for subtitles, but with today's technology, you can get pretty far without necessarily needing human captioning, even for technical videos.

The keyword here is 'free'. Free apps can be a great starting point, giving you a feel for the task without the upfront costs. However, if you're looking to automate the process, or handling a larger volume of videos, you might want to use an automatic subtitle generator.


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What app automatically adds subtitles?

Given that adding subtitles manually can be tedious and time-consuming, apps that automatically generate subtitles are high in demand. But are they effective? Well, it depends on the context. Automatic subtitle apps use voice recognition technology, but the level of accuracy will depend on a variety of factors.

Acronyms, industry-related terms, or even different accents can sometimes become a challenge for these tools. That's why some basic editing will still be required to ensure accuracy after automatic generation. If you're still excited about the prospects of a tool that can add subtitles to video automatically, be sure to choose a reputable, high-quality platform to get the job done. Especially if you have a ton of videos to get through. 

Best programs for adding subtitles

Not all apps for adding subtitles to videos are cut from the same cloth. Like any other tool, it’s all about finding one that aligns with your needs. Some tools offer automated systems, where others might offer a more manual, granular control.

When looking for the best programs, there’s a multitude of elements to consider. Functionality, user interface, multi-language support, transcription accuracy, ease of use, pricing, and more. The most suitable app for someone who repurposes video content might be different from another who simply wants to watch videos, and so on.

Also, it's worthwhile to consider whether the tool can handle SRT files, a popular format for subtitles. Understanding your needs will guide you towards the right platform. Choose wisely!

Apps for subtitling videos

There’s definitely an 'app for everything' and providing subtitles for your videos is no exception. Mobile apps can be a convenient way to add subtitles to your videos on the go. This could be useful for social media managers who want to convert YouTube to Instagram videos, for instance.

However, not all mobile apps may not offer the same depth of control or features as their desktop counterparts. Therefore, while they may be handy for on-the-go subtitle editing, for more complex tasks, you might want love on a more robust platform.

Either way, be it a mobile or desktop app, don't forget the importance of the edit subtitle text feature. It lets you ensure accuracy and coherence once your subtitles have been generated.

Automating subtitle addition

Imagine a tool that can listen to your content, transcribe, and transform it into subtitles automatically. That’s not aspiration, it’s automation.

Tools that can automatically generate subtitles can considerably save time and effort. However, as mentioned before, automatic tools might not always get it right, especially with specialist terminologies or unfamiliar accents. You'll likely still want to scan your generated subtitles for errors.

Despite that, the time savings and scalability that can be achieved with automation are immense. Matters such as adding subtitles to a video shouldn't consume all your energy. Let technology help you out.

7 Reasons Your Videos Need Subtitles [Infographic] | Uscreen

(Source: Uscreen)

Websites that add subtitles automatically

Sometimes, the option to automatically add subtitles without dealing with software installations can optimize your time. This is where websites that enable you to add subtitles to videos come in.

Such websites allow you to upload your video, add subtitles, adjust timings, and then download the subtitled version. It's a straightforward and hassle-free process, provided your Internet connection is stable.

Just as with other auto-subtitling solutions, these sites may not be perfect. You still need to review the generated text for errors. But they do speed up the process. If this feels like the best approach, consider trying Chopcast - a high-performing solution with a hand in everything from adding subtitles to videos to video transcription.

Free video editors with automatic subtitles

Efficiency is the key to effective video editing, especially when dealing with subtitles. Hence, a video editing tool with an automatic subtitle feature can absolutely be a game-changer.

Adding subtitles to a video enhances its accessibility and comprehension. When this job is automated, you can focus on creating compelling content knowing your subtitles are being accurately generated.

However, despite this convenience, you need to ensure the accuracy of generated subtitles. The tool you choose matters, too. A free online video editor should cater to your needs and provide the flexibility to handle various video formats. The free tools might come with some limitations, but they serve their purpose well if you're just starting out or have a tight budget.

Easiest way to add subtitles

In the realm of adding subtitles, the word 'easy' holds high significance. It's about finding a perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and accuracy. Among the multitude of approaches to add subtitles to a video, the easiest way is often through an automated tool.

The primary steps usually involve uploading a video, identifying the spoken content, generating subtitles, reviewing and editing (if necessary), and then exporting your subtitled video. It's often as simple as that. Sure, you can manually create and time code your subtitles, but if you want to schedule your time effectively, automated tools are the way to go.

Choosing an appropriate platform is essential in ensuring the easiness of this process. Allowing users to edit video by editing text itself, Chopcast strives to make adding subtitles to your videos as easy as possible.

Impact of subtitles on SEO

Subtitles offer a wealth of underestimated benefits, especially when it comes to SEO. The spoken words from a video transformed into a text format enable search engines to crawl, understand, and index your video content effectively.

Having subtitles increases the keyword density often resulting in a higher rank on search engine results. Plus, it expands your audience reach by improving accessibility. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, or those in a sound-sensitive environment can still consume your content, potentially contributing to the reduction of your site's bounce rate.

Subtitles also increase your video's dwell time, and search engines love that. If more people stick around to watch your video, it signals to the search engine that your content is valuable, which can enhance your ranking.

Finding relevant keywords for your video's subtitles and including them in the video's meta description can optimize your SEO further. But to make subtitles truly powerful, you need to add captions correctly, in the right formats, such as SRT files. An enhanced SEO approach leads to better visibility, and ultimately, better business growth.


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How to localise your subtitles

When your content begins to appeal to an international audience, subtitles can act as a bridge, eliminating language barriers. Localising your subtitles means translating your content into the language of your target audience, making sure every subtle nuance, cultural reference, or lingo is accurately conveyed.

Localisation goes beyond mere translation. It includes the adaptation of content to accommodate the target locale's cultural nuances and expressions. Be sure to partner with a reliable translation service or use a precise automatic subtitle generator that can handle the localisation requirements of various languages effectively.

Localising your subtitles can significantly enhance your target audience’s experience, keeping them engaged and improving your content's reach and accessibility. It puts your brand on the global map, opening doors to untapped markets.

Adding subtitles to your next webinar

Webinars can be a useful tool for lead generation, education, and brand promotion. However, your webinars should be accessible and understandable for everyone interested in your topic, regardless of their hearing abilities or language proficiency. Hence, adding subtitles to your webinar can be a game-changer.

Subtitles increase your viewers' comprehension and engagement while catering to diverse audience needs. Further, they make your webinars 'searchable' as search engine bots are able to crawl subtitles, enhancing your SEO.

To get started, consider using automated transcription services that provide you with an accurate script of your webinar. Once you have the content, sync it with the video using a subtitle editor. Remember to review the subtitles for accuracy, correct placement, and timing.

Webinars with subtitles give you the liberty to repurpose this content in future. Extract key points, create shorter videos, or even pull out text-based content. The possibilities are endless, and so is the potential for your content's reach.

Subtitling your podcasts

Podcasts have developed into a beloved medium for sharing ideas, stories, and information. But just like videos, accessibility matters here as well. Subtitling podcasts can break the audio barrier and make content digestible to anyone.

One may argue that transcription is all you need for a podcast, but subtitles can go a step further. Imagine embedding your subtitled podcast on your website, or on YouTube; it could considerably enhance your reach and improve SEO.

To subtitle your podcast, first produce a transcript using an automatic subtitle generator. Then, you can convert that into subtitles using an SRT file generator. Remember, reviewing the subtitles for accuracy and correct timing is imperative. Your listeners will appreciate the effort, and your content will reach a larger audience through increased accessibility.

How subtitles increase video engagement

Subtitles are more than an accessibility feature; they play a critical role in increasing viewer engagement. They can keep the viewer on your video, even in a noisy environment or when they wish to watch the video silently. Did you know that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound? Subtitles are not just an option; they're practically a necessity.

Moreover, subtitles improve comprehension, letting viewers remember the information better. Especially beneficial in an educational video or a presentation where you want your audience to retain the information.

The result of these factors is a higher viewer engagement rate. Engaged viewers can lead to more likes, shares, and comments on your video. All these actions signal the algorithm about your video's relevance, potentially improving its organic reach. Hence, making the effort to add subtitles to video can significantly enhance its overall performance.

Making your content accessible with subtitles

One in six people in the UK have hearing loss. In the US, around 15% of the population above 18 years have some trouble hearing. That's a considerable number, and we haven’t even mentioned people watching videos in sound-off environments, or non-native language speakers yet.

Adding subtitles to your videos means including all of these people, making your content inclusive and accessible.

Taking the effort to add subtitles to your video is not just about meeting legal requirements or improving SEO; it's also about showing empathy and consideration for your entire audience base. Such effort doesn’t go unnoticed; it improves your brand’s perception, promotes a sense of inclusivity, and upgrades your corporate social responsibility image.

Finally, never forget that everyone in your audience matters, and they all deserve to enjoy your content, regardless of their hearing abilities or language proficiency. Subtitles simply make that accessibility possible.

Using time codes for subtitling

Time codes are the secret sauce to synchronize subtitles with the spoken phrases in any video content. These codes, coupled with the actual transcript, become the life force of the subtitle file, telling the video player when to showcase specific subtitle text.

The timing must be precise; a difference of a second can break the viewing experience. The time codes generally follow hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds pattern. For example, a segment may start at 00:01:27,500 and end at 00:01:29,000.

If you're looking to script and time code manually, software like Aegisub, Subtitle Workshop, or SRT file editors could be of help. On the other hand, many modern subtitle generation tools automatically handle the time-coding part. But remember, automated or not, it’s always a good practice to review the timings for a seamless viewer experience.

Hard subtitles vs. Soft subtitles

In the subtitle universe, two formats rule: Hard subtitles and Soft subtitles. It’s important to understand the difference to make the right choice for your video content.

Hard subtitles, also known as 'hardsubs,' are permanently embedded into the video, meaning they cannot be turned on or off by the viewers. This is an effective method if you want to ensure all your viewers will have access to the subtitles, particularly for social platforms where turning on captions may not be intuitive.

Soft subtitles, on the other hand, are not a permanent part of the video, offering viewers the flexibility to toggle them on or off. It allows the viewer to choose what they prefer, and such subtitles can easily be edited or changed in future if needed.

Both hard and soft subtitles have their place, and choosing between them depends entirely on the nature of your content, target audience, and the platform where you plan to publish your video.

Optimising Subtitles for search engines

The art of subtitles extends beyond making content access-friendly. These text allies play a pivotal role in improving your video content's SEO. However, simply adding subtitles is not enough. They need to be optimized for search engines as well.

Remember, search engines can't 'watch' videos but they can read text! So, when you include subtitles, you champion your SEO efforts by making your video's content searchable. Incorporate relevant keywords into your subtitles. But tread lightly; keyword stuffing can do more harm than good.

Work on the quality of transcriptions, accuracy, readability, timing, and relevance to the video content. All these elements connect to enhance the viewer experience and, by extension, boost search engine rankings. Also, if you plan to publish your video on multiple platforms, the subtitle format may need to be different. For instance, YouTube prefers SRT files.

Every tiny detail, from the choice of keywords to the formatting of your subtitle file, matters. Do it right, and you'll witness the SEO magic that subtitles can bring to your content.

Deciding on a transcribing service

When it comes to adding subtitles to your videos, podcasts, or webinars, transcription services play an important part. They convert spoken words into text, forming the backbone of your subtitles.

Deciding on a transcribing service largely depends on your needs and budget. There's a range of services available, from automated solutions like automatic subtitle generators to more hands-on professional transcribing services. Each has its pros and cons.

Automated solutions, fuelled by speech recognition technology, can be cost-effective and quick. They're ideal for large volumes of content. However, they are not perfect and may miss subtleties and nuances in language. Editing may be required post-transcription.

Professional services, on the other hand, provide high accuracy, perfect for official documents or when exact transcription is critical. They do the editing for you, but they can be costlier and may take longer.

The gist is, assess your needs, compare various services available, consider the accuracy, speed, cost, customer support, and then make an informed decision.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Adding Subtitles

Adding subtitles can seem straightforward, but there are common pitfalls to avoid to ensure your subtitles enhance your content rather than detract from it.

One mistake is neglecting the accuracy of transcriptions. Misspelled words, incorrect grammar, or inappropriate synchronisation can confuse readers and diminish their viewing experience.

Overcrowded subtitles can be tricky for viewers. Subtitles should provide a text representation of the dialog and important non-dialog audio. Trying to describe everything can result in text-heavy subtitles that are hard to follow.

Also, ensure your subtitles are correctly timed with the spoken words. Nothing is more frustrating for the viewer than a lagging or leading subtitle. Don't forget to check the display speed allowing ample time for viewers to read.

Using an inappropriate font size or colour is a common mistake. The subtitle must be easily readable, consider font, size, colour, and background contrast.

Lastly, don’t leave all the work to automated tools. Review the subtitles before you publish, fine-tune for accuracy, and ensure the subtitles correctly portray the context of your content.

That's all folks! See you in the next article.


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