How to Add Captions to Videos

Make your videos enjoyable, even without sound

Using captions for videos ensures that you won’t lose viewers and that anything you upload, whether on YouTube or a personal website, is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. . Learn how to add subtitles to videos using several methods, including subtitle generators, video editing software, and paid services.

How to Add Subtitles to Videos Using Free Video Editing Software

You can find free video editing software that lets you add subtitles to your video. However, this process is time consuming as you create the subtitles manually.

This option is ideal for videos that require minimal subtitles. In this case, you are also creating a video with subtitles rather than creating a standalone subtitle file.

Download your favorite free video editing software and then install it on your computer by following the installation instructions provided.

If you don’t have a video editor installed on your computer, such as iMovie for Mac, download a free video editing program, such as Blender or Lightworks.

Open the video editing software, then open the file you want to add subtitles to.

Go to the first time someone in the video speaks or where captioning is needed.

To select Title and place the text box below the speaker in the video. Keep the text box in the video pane visible.

The title editor in iMovie.

It may look different depending on the software you are using. Still, the function is almost the same for all video editing options.

Match the caption to the speech in the timeline.

How to Add Subtitles Using Free and Paid Subtitle Generators

There are several free and paid subtitle generators on the web that make it easy and efficient to add subtitles to videos. In most cases, these generators add the subtitles directly to the video file instead of creating a separate subtitle file.

Identify the service you want to use. Kapwing and Closed Caption Creator are two well-known free caption generators.

Upload the video to the subtitle generator by following the instructions on the site. This is done through a web interface.

Kapwing subtitle generator.

You may need to sign up for the service to access this feature. Also, if you uploaded the video to YouTube or another video platform, you may be able to connect the file. If so, you will see the option in the caption generator.

Automatically generate captions or type captions manually. Kapwing, for example, has software that automatically detects when someone is speaking and automatically creates the captions.

When using automatic detection, the software can make mistakes, especially if the speaker has an accent or uses slang. You may need to enter the subtitles manually using the online interface of the subtitle generator. You can see where the subtitles are in the video timeline and place them appropriately.

Make sure the subtitles are properly synchronized. Watch the video in the subtitle generator interface to ensure that the subtitles are aligned with the speech and remain on screen for the appropriate duration.

Stylize captions. Video subtitle generators, even free ones, allow you to adjust the appearance of text on the screen. If you have a video with lots of bright colors, you may need to use darker text or vice versa. Make sure it’s readable by testing it on different screen sizes and devices if possible.

Download the new video file. Once everything is in place and you are happy with how the video looks in the subtitle maker, download the video with subtitles and use it however you want.

How to Add Video Subtitles on YouTube

When you publish your videos on YouTube, you can create subtitles from your YouTube account.

Log in to your YouTube account.

Select your profile picture, then select YouTube studio.

The YouTube user interface.

To select Creator Studio Classic in the lower left corner. Closed Captioning is not yet included in YouTube Studio.

Screenshot of where to click on Creator Studio Classic.

To select Video Manager To the left.

Find the video you want to add subtitles to, select the drop-down arrow under the video, then select Subtitles/CC.

The Video Manager Dashboard.

Select your preferred method for adding captions. You can upload a file, manually input everything said in the video, and have YouTube sync it automatically. Or, you can browse the timeline and add captions manually as topics speak.

Save your work.

If you add a lot of subtitles from scratch, it can take a long time. YouTube saves your work as a draft, so you can come back to it when you have time.

Publish the video.

How to use paid services for video subtitles

If you don’t have time to create subtitles manually in video editing software or go through the process of using subtitle generators, several paid services offer affordable ones. Some may use automatic caption generators, while others have someone create the captions from scratch.

Select the service you want to use. Services like Scribblr and Captionmax offer rates as low as $1 per minute of video.

As with everything, you’ll probably get what you pay for. Consider the project and the importance of your captions being 100% accurate.

Upload your video.

Select additional options, such as express delivery, then proceed to checkout.

You will receive an srt file in your email, which you can upload to any video platform of your choice, such as YouTube or Vimeo. This saves you from having to create the captions manually.


More information about How to Add Captions to Videos

Make your videos enjoyable, even without sound

Using captions for videos ensures you won’t lose viewers and that everything you upload, whether to YouTube or a personal website, is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn how to add captions to videos using multiple methods, including caption generators, video editing software, and paid services.

How to Add Captions to Videos Using Free Video Editing Software

You can find free video editing software that allows you to add captions to your video. However, this process is time-consuming since you’re creating the captions manually.

This option is ideal for videos that require a minimal amount of captions. In this case, you’re also creating a video that has captions rather than creating a standalone caption file.

Download your favorite free video editing software, then install the software on your computer, following the installation instructions provided.

If a video editor isn’t installed on your computer, such as iMovie for Mac, download a free video editing program, such as Blender or Lightworks.

Open the video editing software, then open the file you want to add captions to.

Navigate to the first time someone in the video speaks or where captioning is needed.

Select Title and place the text box under the speaker in the video. Keep the text box within the viewable video pane.

This may look different depending on the software you use. Still, the function is almost the same across every video editing option.

Match the caption to the speech in the timeline.

How to Add Captions Using Free and Paid Caption Generators

There are several free and paid web-based caption generators that make adding captions to videos easy and effective. In most cases, these generators add the captions directly to the video file instead of creating a separate caption file.

Identify which service you want to use. Kapwing and Closed Caption Creator are two well-known free caption generators.

Upload the video to the caption generator following the site’s directions. This is done through a web interface.

You may have to sign up for the service to access this feature. Also, if you uploaded the video to YouTube or another video platform, you may be able to connect the file. If so, you’ll see the option in the caption generator.

Auto-generate the captions or manually type the captions. Kapwing, for example, has software that auto-detects when someone speaks and automatically creates the captions.

When using Auto-detect, the software might get things wrong, especially if the speaker has an accent or uses slang. You may need to type the captions manually using the caption generator’s online interface. You can see where the captions are in the video timeline and place each one appropriately.

Ensure the captions are timed correctly. Watch the video in the caption generator interface to ensure the captions are aligned with the speech and stay on the screen for the appropriate amount of time.

Style the captions. Video caption generators, even the free ones, allow you to adjust how the text looks on the screen. If you have a video with lots of bright colors, you may need to use darker text or vice versa. Make sure it’s readable by testing it out on different screen sizes and devices if possible.

Download the new video file. Once everything in place and you’re happy with how the video looks in the caption generator, download the video with captions and use it however you want.

How to Add Video Captions on YouTube

When you post your videos on YouTube, you can create captions from your YouTube account.

Sign in to your YouTube account.

Select your profile picture, then select YouTube Studio.

Select Creator Studio Classic in the lower-left corner. Captioning is not yet included in YouTube Studio.

Select Video Manager to the left.

Find the video you want to add captions to, select the drop-down arrow under the video, then select Subtitles/CC.

Select your preferred method to add captions. You can upload a file, type everything said in the video manually, and have YouTube automatically sync it. Or, you can go through the timeline and add captions manually when subjects are speaking.

Save your work.

If you add a lot of subtitles from scratch, it can take a long time. YouTube saves your work as a draft, so you can come back to it when you have time.

Publish the video.

How to Use Paid Services for Video Captions

If you don’t have time to create captions manually in video editing software or to go through the process of using caption generators, several paid services offer affordable services. Some may use auto-caption generators, while others have someone who creates the captions from scratch.

Select the service you want to use. Services like Scribblr and Captionmax offer rates as low as $1 per minute of video.

As with everything, you’re likely to get what you pay for. Consider the project and how important it is that your captions are 100 percent accurate.

Upload your video.

Select any additional options, such as express delivery, then check out.

You will receive an srt file in your email, which you can upload to any video platform of your choice, such as YouTube or Vimeo. This saves you from having to create the captions manually.

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