June 4, 2023

What are the best solutions to add subtitles to a video?

Desk with computer
minute read

Since the autoplay of videos set up by Facebook, captioning and subtitling has become the norm on the web. But how do you subtitle a video? It sounds simple and yet it's not... I'm going to present you 4 solutions to add subtitles or captions to a video.

  • YouTube and its automatic subtitling solution...
  • Aegisub, a subtitle creation software
  • Checksub, the best automatic subtitling solution
  • Entrust your project to a professional subtitling service

1. YouTube and its automatic subtitling solution

Advantages: Free, pleasant interface
The downside: Need to correct all the subtitles, obligation to post your video on Youtube and the posting of the subtitles does not respect the meaning of the sentence.

For some time now YouTube has been offering us automatic subtitling for our videos. Unfortunately the solution is far from being magical and requires going back. But it allows us to have a working basis. So to use this solution you must already agree to put your video on YouTube.

After putting your video on YouTube it is necessary to wait a little before it is fully uploaded and subtitles are generated. Then you go to Creator Studio and select "video manager". → "videos" → then click on the title of the video in question.

Then in the menu at the top of the video you will see a "subtitles" tab. Just click on it. YouTube will then ask you to specify the language spoken mainly in the video.

You should see to the right of the video a language with automatic subtitles. By clicking on it you will be able to correct and modify the subtitle file.

2. Aegisub, the complete but complex solution

Aegisub Interface

Aegisub is an open-source software available on PC, Mac and Linus via this link: Aegisub Advanced Subtitle Editor. It's an excellent software to create subtitles for a video. Today, the idea is not to give you a complete tutorial of Aegisub but to introduce you to the software in general terms.

Here are the steps to create a subtitle with Aegisub :

  • launch Aegisub
  • click on the menu 'video' → 'Open a video'.
  • select video
  • if you get a message saying 'Resolution incompatible' select 'Set to video resolution'.
  • Aegisub's interface looks like the image below. It consists of 3 parts. On the top left you have the video. On the top right you have the audio spectrum that will allow you to set the timecode. The timecode is the information that allows you to know when to display the subtitles. Finally, at the bottom you have the subtitles. Each line represents a subtitle.

To create a subtitle you select the last line and click enter. You type in the text. Then on the audio track you select the beginning of the subtitle with a click and the end with a right-click.

  • Then you have to export the subtitle in a srt file 'file' → 'export as...' → 'Export' → Give a name and in the 'file type' select .srt
  • Now that you have the srt file you can upload it on your video hosting platform (Vimeo, Wistia, Youtube,...). You can also embed it in your video.

3. Checksub, automatically add subtitles to your videos with a qualitative result

When we talk about automatic subtitling we can see different solutions. For example, the Youtube one we showed above generates an SRT file. Often this one contains errors that must be modified. The problem is that a modification in an SRT file often leads to cascading changes. As soon as the content of a subtitle is modified it is necessary to readjust its time codes.

This quickly becomes time-consuming and when you want a quality work you spend more time correcting the work done by Youtube than starting from scratch. And generally it's the same problem with all automatic subtitling tools.

But the new checksub tool has the advantage of offering a very different methodology. And the result is quite impressive when you want to add subtitles to a video.

To test it you can create a free account.

Projects of less than 2 minutes are free. In this case there is a small watermark on the first and last 10 seconds of the video.
So to automatically subtitle your video start with :

  • Upload your video on www.checksub.com
  • Select the "automatic translation" offer
  • Create an account if needed.
  • Specify the language of your video and the language of the subtitles you want to create. Choose the type you wish to use "Premium", "Essential" or "Free" and validate. During several minutes the platform will prepare your project by generating an automatic script.
  • When the project is ready you receive an email and the status turns blue with the text "in progress". Click on "Edit" to open the project. When opening the project a tutorial video is displayed. It lasts 3 minutes and is really worth watching. It saves a lot of time on the handling.
  • In the application the first thing to do is to check the automatic splitting of the script into blocks of text. Each block will become a subtitle in the second step. The advantage is that the tool makes a first cut with a maximum number of characters per line. At the same time you have to proofread and correct the automatic script of the video. Automatic speech recognition technology is quite powerful but it is not infallible. But it is as simple as editing text in Word. 👍
  • Start the "synchronization"! This is where the second part of the magic happens 🎉. The platform will automatically detect when your subtitles should be displayed on screen from the audio tape. And it will automatically generate the time codes for each block of text. Check and if necessary adjust the synchronization. Modify the synchronization by selecting a subtitle and then dragging the beginning or the end of the tag on the audio spectrum.

This is an excellent solution if you have a limited budget for your project but still want quality subtitling.

Easily create your subtitles

Upload a video

4. Or you may want to use a professional captioning and subtitling service.

If you have little time or you want subtitling in a foreign language and therefore with translation you can entrust your project to professionals. Several services offer subtitling, but quality is not always guaranteed. Checksub.com also offers this service relying only on professional subtitlers. The other advantage is that everything is done online.

You can get a quote directly from this page: Prices for professional subtitling and captioning

Then the principle is simple to add your subtitles to your video:

  • You upload your video
  • you specify the subtitle language you want. If you wish to export the video with subtitle integration, remember to check the option.

This option allows you to export your video by embedding subtitles in the image.

  • if the video is less than 10 minutes long, you usually have a return in 24 to 48 hours.
  • then you can check the work done and correct it directly online. This is a rather practical function that avoids unnecessary back and forth.

You receive an .srt file (or other format) or if you have taken the option you can export your video by overlaying the subtitles (burn-in) with the desired style.

Now you have the keys to subtitle your videos more easily :-)

Thank you for your reading! :) If this article was useful for you, don't hesitate to share it on LinkedIn or Facebook 👏 to let others discover it.

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