The Complete Guide to Subtitling Videos Online

Subtitling your videos can feel complicated. But we're here to make it easier. For a go-to resource on video editing, check out our complete guide to subtitling videos online.

The complete guide to subtitling videos online

Did you know that more than 80% of social media videos are watched on mute? We live in a busy, constantly moving world. More often than not, people are in situations where they don’t want to blast their volume while scrolling on social media. But you don’t want to lose out on 80% of your audience. And that’s why subtitling your videos is so important. 

Whether you’ve just recently started creating video content or you’ve been doing this for years, subtitling your videos can feel complicated. But we’re here to make it simpler. To give you a resource you can re-visit again and again, we’ve created this complete guide to subtitling videos online. Just keep reading!

The Complete Guide to Subtitling Videos Online

Manual Subtitling vs. Automated Subtitling

When it comes to subtitling your videos, you essentially have two options: manual subtitling or automated subtitling. If you choose manual subtitling, then that means you would have to manually transcribe all of your audio yourself and create the subtitles for your videos (or hire someone to do it for you). Either way, an actual human being has to be in charge of every step of the process.

If you want to go the manual route but you’d like to outsource, check out Fiverr. Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelancers where you can find lots of talented professionals in fields ranging from graphic design and digital marketing to programming and tech. To find freelancers who specialize in subtitles and transcripts, just click here

Alternatively, you can use automated subtitling to caption your videos. This is the best option if you want to save yourself money and countless hours — we’re guessing you probably have better thing to do than sit in front of your computer for half a day transcribing your own audio. If you want to go the automated route, then you’ll need some kind of tool or software. Let’s break down your options…

Options for Automated Subtitling 

If you choose to handle your subtitling with a tool or software, then you need some kind of AI tool that will automatically subtitle your video. And, much like in the last point, you basically have two routes you can go: an on-premise option or an online option. “On-premise” simply means that the software is housed within the physical location of an enterprise, rather than in the cloud or on hosted servers in a remote facility. On-premise options for subtitling videos would include Adobe Premier, Descript, etc. 

You can also use an online option for automated subtitling. Online options include tools like Zubtitle, Kapwing, and Some of online subtitling tools are more expensive than others and some are more difficult to navigate. Zubtitle is far and away the best option because of the huge amount of features, easy-to-use interface, speed, and price point (we even offer a free plan!).

Zubtitle’s state-of-the-art AI software automatically transcribes the speech in your video and converts it to video subtitles, optimizing your video for social media with just a few clicks. Using Zubtitle for video captions can save you time and money (plus, it frees you from figuring out how to use some complicated professional software). You can burn your captions directly into widescreen, square, and vertical videos. Plus, you have the option to download .TXT and .SRT transcription files.

Closed Captions vs. Burned Captions

While we’re on the subject… what exactly are “burned captions”, you may ask? There are two different types of captions: closed captions and burned (or open) captions). Both types of captions serve the purpose of making your video accessible to a wider audience. But the difference between these two types of captions is pretty simple.

Basically, burned/open captions are hard-coded into your video, meaning they are always in view and can’t be turned off. Whereas closed captions are an option that can be turned on and off by the viewer (think the closed caption setting on YouTube videos).

While closed captions are a great solution for the hearing impaired to turn on, open captions ensure that all viewers are able to see the words that are being spoken in a video. When you use a subtitling tool like Zubtitle, you’re always creating burned captions.

Automatic Captions vs. Customized Captions

While Zubtitle’s state-of-the-art software automatically transcribes your audio and converts it to timed captions, those captions are still dynamic and fully customizable. And that’s the difference between using an automated tool like Zubtitle and using the automatic captioning services available on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc. 

Anytime you natively upload a video to one of these platforms, you’ll have the option to use their auto-captioning feature to generate subtitles. The plus side is that you don’t have to use separate software to edit your video before uploading. The downside is that these automatic features are notoriously unreliable, which means you’ll probably spend more time reading through carefully and making necessary edits. And you can’t do anything to style or optimize those captions. Which leads us to the next part of this guide…

Styling Subtitles

These days, it’s not enough just to create a video and add some subtitles — you have to find a way to stand out in the overcrowded social media world. That’s why it’s so important to create eye-catching video content that will pull your followers in, leading to more enagement and more reach. And one of the best ways to grab attention in this fast-scrolling world is to style your video subtitles in a way that makes them pop.

With Zubtitle, you can completely customize and style your subtitles. Our tool allows you to change fonts and colors to match your branding, make individual subtitles pop with word-by-word styling, and much more. Plus, with Zubtitle Templates, you can style your entire video with just one single click. 

Animated Subtitles

Another easy way to make subtitling your videos more effective and get more social media views than ever before? Animated subtitles!

Did you know that the average person scrolls through a whopping 300 feet of social media content daily? With that kind of consumption happening online, you have to stand out. And that’s why animated subtitles are so effective.

Animated subtitles can get your videos more views and engagement (compared to standard captions), help your viewers follow along with the video more easily (which increases watch times), and help you stand out from the ever-increasing crowd on social media AND look like a pro (without a fancy editing team). The best news: we’ve created a way for you to make videos with animated subtitles (like this ⬇️) just by clicking one button. 

For a step-by-step guide on adding animated subtitles to your video, check out this walkthrough.

Basic Video Guidelines

Of course, subtitles aren’t the only thing that you need to make your video succeed online. They’re a good start, but there are other strategies and optimization tricks that you’ll need to make sure your video performs it’s very best online.


A headline is a great way to complement your subtitles. Adding an eye-catching, interest-piquing headline at the very top of your video is a great way to grab attention on social media and let your viewers know what your video is all about. When you’re brainstorming a good headline for your video, try to keep your target audience in mind, create a sense of urgency, and refrain from clickbait.

If you want to learn how to add a headline to your video with Zubtitle, check out this walkthrough.

Repurposing videos online

The tricky thing with creating video content for social media is that every platform is different, so your video has to be re-optimized for every platform you want to share it on. But there’s no need to create a brand-new piece of content for every platform — you just have to know how to repurpose your videos! 

You can easily use Zubtitle’s features (like trimming, resizing, and duplicating) to take one video and turn it into ten videos. For a full walkthrough, click here.

Are you ready to start subtitling videos online? 

Just log in to Zubtitle! If you don’t have a Zubtitle account and you’re ready to start creating for FREE, sign up today!

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