How to Subtitle a Video

    Danilo Coviello

    If you want to make a video more enjoyable or reach more people, adding subtitles to a video is a great option. There are various benefits to it, such as helping you make your videos more understandable for a larger audience.

    Throughout this article, we will take a look at how you can add subtitles to your video and the benefits of doing so.

    Advantages of Adding Subtitles To Your Videos

    Before we jump into how to add subtitles to your videos, let’s look at some of the benefits of doing so.

    Improves watch time

    Adding subtitles to a video increases watch time considerably. The average total Facebook view time is 5 percent higher when a video has captions. Also, reactions to the videos were 17 percent higher when video creators used captions.

    On average, videos with subtitles have a 40 percent increase in views than those without subtitles.

    Having sound doesn’t always mean views – closed captions are equally crucial for telling a story and engaging your viewers.

    Request a quote

    Increases viewership with ESL learners

    Not everyone is fluent in the English language, and there are 1.5 billion ESL learners globally. Moreover, not all English accents are easy to understand, and captions can add clarity to non-native speakers.

    If you want your content to grow with non-native English speakers – using closed captions helps enormously. 

    Improves SEO

    Improving the SEO of your video will bring far more eyes to your content. Search engines cannot crawl video content, although they can crawl text. Having subtitles can increase your keyword depth so that a title and a video description cannot.

    Besides, video content with higher watch-time and engagement ranks higher, and subtitles considerably improve watch-time and engagement.

    Therefore, if you want to rank higher on Google, you should add subtitles to your videos. 


    The United Kingdom is home to 11 million people who are hard of hearing. Having subtitles will allow the vast audience of people with hearing difficulties to engage with your content.

    Request a quote

    Besides, did you know that users watch 85 percent of Facebook videos on mute?

    Having subtitles increases accessibility with many demographics and allows users to watch your content without sound, which is a comprehensive global audience.

    Easier to translate to other languages

    Adding subtitles to your videos enables more straightforward translation to other languages. There are 1.35 billion people globally who speak English natively or as a second language. But, over 2 billion people watch YouTube videos. Plus, there are 2.8 billion monthly active Facebook users.

    Many video watchers do not speak or understand English, and because videos with subtitles are easier to translate – you are expanding your potential viewership into the billions.

    Subtitles make your viewers understand and learn the content better.

    People always learn better if they learn in their native language. If you are creating video learning material, such as financial advice, sporting techniques, or fitness help, video subtitles are essential. Subtitles will help your viewers take the information in, increasing key metrics, such as watch-time, SEO, and overall engagement.

    Many popular global video brands – including Netflix – are encouraging learning through subtitles. Recently, Netflix started the Learning Language with Netflix extension to encourage subtitle learning.

    How to add subtitles to a video

    Some people expect adding subtitles to be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are various ways to add precise subtitles to your videos.

    If you would like to add subtitles to your videos, you’ll need an SRF file which is the file type used for subtitles.

    Here are some of the best options to choose from:

    • Automatic subtitles
    • DIY Manual Subtitles
    • Hiring a professional for a manual transcription

    Manual Subtitles vs Automatic: Which is Better?

    While automatic subtitles are attractive because of their low price, and fast turnaround time, they also have some significant disadvantages.

    The main one being high levels of inaccuracies, as AI technology cannot yet understand humans properly, especially if there is a lot of background noise.

    Therefore, you’ll want to avoid automatic transcriptions for professional purposes. However, if you’d like to use them, YouTube automatically creates subtitles for your videos.

    Creating the subtitles

    Below, we explained how you could manually create the subtitles for high accuracy.

    Step 1: Manual Transcription

    To create subtitles manually, you must transcribe your audio. This basically means typing out the words in your audio into a text file.

    This will give you the best accuracy, as you will be able to correct any mistakes and type out words that a computer wouldn’t understand.

    To do this, you can open a word processing software like Word or Google docs, play the video and start typing.

    Once you have typed out your transcriptions, proofread them again, and move onto the next step.

    Step 2: YouTube + Dotsub

    1. The initial step is to sign-up with Dotsub – a video captioning business offering subtitles to all video types.
    2. Then head over to the captioning interface and click add captions; it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes to caption the video file.
    3. The next step is to add in your subtitles that you created earlier.
    4. If you would like to use DotSub as your video host, you’re finished. However, if you would like to add your video file to different streaming services, there are further options.
    5. Once you’ve completed the above steps, you will have the srt file provided by Dotsub. You can use the srt file on various streaming platforms, such as YouTube and Also, you can use the srt file to create subtitles for DVDs.

    The most popular streaming service is YouTube. Let’s look at how to caption Youtube videos. 

    1. Get the srt file from Dotsub or any alternative provider.
    2. Upload the video file to YouTube, and click captions when you are uploading the file.
    3. Click “add a caption track” and select your srt file. Choose the language, and select “caption file” instead of “transcript file.”
    4. The next step is to upload your srt file, and you have finished
    5. You can use the embed code to share your subtitle file anywhere on the internet, including social media and websites.

    Another option is to add subtitles to a VLC video player. This is an excellent option if you’re in an office environment. 

    1. Get your srt file from Dotsub.
    2. Change the name of the srt file to make it have a similar name to your video.
    3. Create a folder that has the same files inside.
    4. Use either Win-Zip or the Mac OS’s “Make archive” feature to generate a .zip archive of the folder.
    5. Then you can offer the zip file for download. Perhaps add guidance to viewers to keep the files together. Once you’ve completed this step, users can watch videos on a VLC media player with subtitles.

    Our Transcription service

    At Espresso Translation, we are a worldwide translation and transcription agency working with some of the world’s biggest brands. These include Amazon, Forbes, and IMDb.

    If you need a complete hands-off transcription service – we provide affordable solutions tailoring to your needs.

    We can create the subtitles for you or even translate them to reach a larger audience.

    Head over to our request a quote page and tell us exactly what your project demands whether that be to add subtitles to a video, the creation of a subtitle file, captions, subtitle upload, on screen text edit online etc. We have various full-time project managers that will automatically get back to you with a quote for the document translation within one hour. Plus, you can let us know if you have any questions.

    Some final thoughts

    We hope you enjoyed our article on why you should subtitle your videos. As you can see, there are various benefits to adding subtitles to your videos.

    Whether you are looking to gain views, SEO rankings, and watch-time, you should add subtitles to videos.

    Furthermore, if you want to attract a worldwide audience and make a global impact, if you add subtitles to video or using video captions is crucial because not everyone listens to audio.

    If you found this article useful, check out some other related articles.

    What are the four types of translation?

    How do transcription services work?

    Who uses a translation service?