How to create subtitles for a video


It’s important the videos we create are availiable for all to enjoy, including people with a hearing impairment. The Church of England includes subtitles on all videos it produces for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Why not add the subtitles straight to the video (hardcoded)?

The issue with hardcoded subtitles is that screen readers can’t see the text – it's just an image to them if hard-coded – and so uploading a subtitle file separately makes it more accessible, as well as allowing people to customise the way subtitles appear on their devices so they can make sure the display works for them.

It also makes it easier to go back and edit them in the future if you spot a mistake. No need to re-render the whole video, just update the subtitles file.

Where do I start?

Both YouTube and Facebook have tools to automatically create subtitles. YouTube’s tool tends to be more accurate than the tool offered by Facebook, so best to start there:


Upload your video to Youtube

  1. Click the edit video button
  2. Go to the Subtitles tab at the side

There may already be some auto-generated subtitles in place, but these may not be entirely accurate.

  1. Click where it says English (Automatic), or upload a transcript of the words spoken in your video

This will bring up the subtitling tool. From here you can check that the right words are being spoken at the right times or amend if necessary. It’s good to try and get the subtitles to be as accurate as possible.

Once you’re happy with the subtitles:

  1. Click actions
  2. Selection download .srt from the dropdown


Download the .srt file from YouTube as instructed above. You can then upload this to your Twitter video. To do this:

  1. Click your icon in the top right-hand corner of Twitter and select Media Studio from the dropdown list
  2. Upload the video you want to share or select the video that has already been uploaded
  3. Select the Subtitles tab
  4. Choose the language the subtitles are in from the dropdown list
  5. Click upload and choose the .srt file you have downloaded from YouTube

This will automatically save and will then be showing subtitles on your video.

    Facebook captions

    Facebook needs the .srt file to be in a slightly different format for you to be able to upload it. Alternatively, you can create the subtitles directly on Facebook, by following points 3-5, then writing or generating your own.

    To do this:

    1. Change the name of the file from *******.srt to *******
    2. If this doesn’t work for you, this website will convert the file quickly: (Just choose Facebook ready from the list of conversion types)

    To upload the subtitle file:

    1. Click Creator Studio and then Upload video.
    2. Choose a video from your computer and click Open.
    3. Click Subtitles and Captions on the right-hand side.
    4. Click Upload and select a file from your computer.
    5. Click Open.

    The subtitles will appear in the Captions Added section. Click on the added subtitles to be taken to Facebook’s subtitle editor. From here you can double-check that it’s also working on Facebook and make any changes if necessary and then save them.

    Finally, select a default language and save the video.


    Unfortunately, subtitles on Instagram don’t work in the same way as they do on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Currently, there is not a way to add subtitles within the app, however, there are ways to create subtitles for your video before you upload.

    Apple Clips app (IOS only)

    Apple Clips is a free app available on the Apple App Store, however, it is not available to Android users. Whilst it is free and easy to use, there are a few things to be aware of. It only records square video, and the video must be recorded within the app for the subtitles to be generated.

    To create a video with subtitles:

    1. Download Apple Clips in your app store here.
    2. Open the app and select ‘camera’.
    3. Press the speech bubble icon in the bottom left of the screen. From here, choose the style of your subtitles. When selected, press the x icon to close.
    4. Press the star icon on the right-hand side of the screen. If you wish, you can choose filters and stickers for your video. Press the x icon to close when finished.
    5. To record your video, press the pink button and slide upwards. As you start talking, subtitles will be created by the app, which will appear on the screen as you talk.
    6.  When finished, press the square pink button to stop recording.

    Your recorded video will appear at the bottom of your screen. Press on the video to select it. From here you can preview your video, add additional stickers, filters, or emojis and trim your video to tidy up the beginning and ends.

    1. Finally, press ‘Save clip’ to download it to your photo library. From here, you can upload to Instagram.

    Clipomatic (IOS)

    This app adds automatic captions as you record a video for Instagram stories. Learn more about it here.

    Any easy tool to add subtitles to video, is free to use for ten-minutes worth of content. You can review the captions before they're burned in, as well as changing the font style and colour. 

    If you have any app suggestions you'd like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you! Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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