What's the easiest and cheapest way to add subtitles to a video?
August 12, 2017 6:15 PM   Subscribe

I have a video between 30 and 60 minutes long. I have the script. I have a translation of the script into another language. The video occasionally deviates from the script and I can edit the translated script. How how do I turn the translated script into subtitles?

Free software would be great. But I may be able to get non-free software, so feel free to make your case. Oh, and due to a video glitch, my video is currently in three files. I'll need to concatenate them. I assume that any video editing software that does anything as advanced as subtitles would also do this, though, right?
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You'll probably be pretty happy with Aegisub. Iirc the forum is pretty active and helpful so you can likely get many of your questions answered there.
posted by Mizu at 6:30 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Aegisub (freeware, multi-platform)


Essentially it's get the script into a text file, load the text file in Aegisub, add timing. You'll probably want to use the SRT subtitle format.

A competing subtitle timer is Subtitle Edit.

> I assume that any video editing software that does anything as advanced as subtitles would also do this, though, right?

You should do this in advance with an app that specializes in it. I'd probably use avidemux, but there might be a better one.
posted by bluecore at 6:30 PM on August 12, 2017

When you say subtitles, do you mean subtitles that can be turned on and off? If so, that's a specific separate file -- usually when I download movies with subtitles, it's a separate text document with timestamps in a .srt file. If you google about .srt files, you can find simple instructions to add subtitles to videos using a notepad text document.

If you want the subtitles hard-coded to the video, meaning permanently added, or you don't care about being able to turn them off, then you can probably just do that with some software that came with your computer, whether it's Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:39 PM on August 12, 2017

If you can get non-free software, TechSmith Camtasia will make your life infinitely easier both for the concatination and subtitling, and is very inexpensive for what it is (there are educational rates too, if you're at all associated with an educational institution).
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:48 AM on August 13, 2017

Subtitle support in editing software tends to be poor, even in high end software like Premiere or Final Cut. I would edit the files together, upload the vid file privately on Youtube and use their subs editor which is easy to use. However I am not sure how to get the subs out of the Youtube project afterwards so... just an idea. The other suggestions might be better.
posted by wolfr at 5:22 PM on August 13, 2017

Seconding wolfr's suggestion. I found the YT interface the most convenient for subbing. When you have finished you can export the txt file as an .srt and the subs will be playable in VLC etc...
posted by ouke at 11:43 PM on August 13, 2017

Camtasia makes it very easy to add subtitles to videos. It doesn't have a ton of options, but it gets the job done fast and easy
posted by michael_scott at 9:58 AM on August 26, 2017

OK, so I looked at Youtube and it looked like I had to type (or paste) in each caption one by one and then add a time stamp, which was a giant PITA. I ended up finding Amara (free, online) and using the method described in this article (Minus the watson bit, since I already had a script, and since I was subtitling in a different language). This was super easy. I had just had my list of captions, watched the video and hit the down arrow when I wanted a the video to move to the next caption.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:30 AM on August 28, 2017

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