You already have a subtitle file (srt, vtt… ) and need to edit the text, synchronization or appearance of your subtitles?

You may naturally try editing your file manually, or use one of the many subtitle editors available on the market.

But which one to choose, and how to use it? Everything is explained here.

Why edit your subtitles properly?

If you have tried to do subtitles by yourself, you already know how complex the job is. In particular, you may have a hard time transcribing the audio of a video and synchronizing text with speech. But well-edited subtitles can make all the difference if they look clear and pleasing to the eye.

This is why you should optimize the quality of your subtitles:

  • You improve the accessibility of your videos to a deaf and hard of hearing audience.
  • With translated subtitles, you can share your content across nationalities and languages around the world.
  • Subtitles allow a better visual comprehension and memorization of your message.
  • You adapt to reading without sound on social networks

Do you agree with that? We show you how to create quality subtitles.

Editing subtitles manually: basic practices

It is quite possible to edit your subtitle files by yourself, but this requires a basic knowledge of how they work. To create files such as SRT or VTT, you need to comply to specific standards. Here is the step-by-step method to make them.

The format of SRT and VTT files

To edit your subtitles, simply enter your text and time codes under this scheme

For example, an SRT file is built like this :

You can create a VTT file like that :

Synchronizing your subtitles well

The most complicated task is to synchronize your text without hindering your audience’s understanding. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Divide your subtitles by sentence, to make it easier and more logical to break them into sequences.
  • Keep the number of characters per sequence below 70; it is preferable to divide the subtitles into two relatively equivalent lines. This improves readability
  • Start the sequence exactly at the moment the speaker is speaking. This means a positive or negative delay of up to 22 ms. However, you can let the subtitle be displayed for another 2-3 seconds when there is a pause in the speech. This allows some viewers to catch up on their reading.
  • If you can, use the sound spectrum to set the beginning of a subtitle to the start of a new sound frequency peak.

Editing the subtitle appearance

If you can also manage the appearance of your subtitles, here are a few recommendations on this subject:

  • Subtitles are usually positioned in the center and at the bottom. But sometimes they can interfere with the visibility of certain information and must be moved.
  • Avoid using strong colors such as red or yellow.
  • The size of the subtitles should be optimized for the size of the different types of screens (on average 2% of the screen for desktop and laptop computers).
  • The most readable subtitle composition is defined by white characters on a transparent black background.
  • If you don’t necessarily want to differentiate yourself, we will advise you on non-serif classics such as Roboto, Tiresias, Times New Roman. If you want a little more originality, here’s a little guide to the best subtitles to consult.

Still having trouble editing your subtitles by yourself? We show you other ways to do it.

Which subtitle editor to choose?

There are already many subtitle editors, either software or web applications. They optimize the text transcript and time codes of your subtitles in no time. Here we show you the best choices that you can find on the internet :

  • Aegisub is the best open source subtitle editor. Free and comprehensive, it allows you to synchronize your subtitles with the help of the sound spectrum, and to customize the appearance of your subtitles with its native ASS format.
  • Subtitle Workshop is one of the most user-friendly subtitle editors out there. It supports a wide range of subtitle formats, and allows you to optimize all aspects of your subtitles.
  • Kapwing is a subtitle web application with a free and limited version. By uploading your video, you can quickly adjust and correct your subtitles with a modern and efficient interface.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro, as the ultimate video editor, allows you to precisely edit the appearance and display of your subtitles. But it’s not the best tool for doing this job productively.

Your choice will depend on your needs and the size of your project. We warn you, however, that manual editors can be complex to use. This is why we show you an automatic subtitle editor, which will save you much more time.

How to use an automatic subtitle editor?

As speech-to-text technologies been generalized, automatic subtitle generators have become commonplace on the Internet. Based on deep learning, these applications accurately transcribe and synchronize the audio and text of your video. They often also provide a powerful subtitle editor, which allows you to adjust the result. With these platforms, you can create and optimize your subtitle files in the blink of an eye.

Here, we show you how to subtitle your video with our Checksub subtitle editor. You can use it to :

  • Transcribe your videos automatically and with great accuracy (Advanced Speech Recognition API)
  • Collaborate with professional subtitlers and translators to manage your video project.
  • Translate your video into more than 128 languages (translation based on deep learning)
  • Easily edit and customize the appearance of your subtitles

1# Add your video on the interface

To get started, register on the Checksub platform. Select your content and indicate its original language. You can also choose from a wide range of languages to perform the translation if necessary.

checksub interface

You have 1 hour to test the platform. If this time is not enough for your first video, you can buy credits at low price.

The API will then perform the speech recognition and provide you with the result in a few minutes.

2# Check and Optimize the result

checksub's new editor

When the result is ready, click on the language of your video and access the dedicated subtitle editor to check the synchronization.

3# Export the SRT, VTT file or the subtitled video

When you are satisfied with the transcription, you can then proceed to export your subtitles. You can either download an SRT or VTT file. You can also export your video with burn-in subtitles. To do this, click on the “Export” button and choose “Export Video”.

You will then have access to the editor to customize the appearance of your subtitles. Once you are done, you can finally export your video in MP4 format.

Checksub customization subtitle editor

Using a professional subtitling service

As you can see, editing subtitles is rather complex. This is even more true if you have a large volume of video or difficult to transcribe (ambient noise). Fortunately, there are also professional services that can take care of your video projects. With the help of proven human expertise, they will deliver your projects in a short period of time and with high quality. For example, our subtitling experts are at your service!

We hope we’ve helped you make your video visually impactful!

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