How to Add Closed Captions and Subtitles to TikTok Clips
Although there isn’t a way to download and use closed caption files with a TikTok video yet, there are a few popular workarounds that allow TikTok users to subtitle their videos on this popular social media platform.
The app’s parent company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly in 2018. Their marketing team rebranded the popular lip-syncing app as TikTok. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are banned in China, but TikTok, known as Douyin in China, had 400 million users in 2019. With half a billion monthly users around the world, TikTok is one of the most-downloaded free apps in the iTunes App Store.
TikTok videos are 60 seconds long, with options that include various stickers, filters, and text additions. While it’s a popular social media platform with teens, most users are young adults. The app is catching on with celebrities, as well.
How subtitles can help you trend on TikTok
TikTok’s algorithm allows popular videos to appear in even more feeds as shares and likes accumulate. This makes it possible to reach trending status on the app in a short amount of time. Instead of focusing on only a select group of users, the algorithm doesn’t discriminate. Regularly posting relevant and attention-getting content could make you an overnight TikTok celebrity.
If TikTok captions make your videos fully accessible to a larger audience, including those who are hard of hearing, you’ll reach an even wider audience with your content.
Wondering how to add subtitles to TikTok videos? You aren’t alone.
Unfortunately, TikTok doesn’t currently offer a viable way to upload a caption file with the video or in addition to the video the way you can with other social sharing apps. We are waiting for that feature, but until then, TikTok users have a few options.
How to add text to a TikTok video
Some TikTok users choose to manually add text to their videos. It’s smart to make your content fully-accessible to your viewers whether they are hearing impaired or just want to watch in silence without missing anything.
Here’s the workaround for captioning TikTok videos when you want to transcribe dialogue:
- Open the app and click the “+” icon.
- Record a video or upload one from a saved file.
- Click the checkbox in the bottom right corner when you finish recording or uploading the video.
- Click the “text” button located at the bottom of the TikTok screen to add captions.
- Choose a font style, text alignment, and color.
6. Drag the text where you want it to appear on the screen.
7. You can determine the timing of when the text appears in the video by selecting the text box and clicking the clock icon in the upper right corner. The word “duration” appears at the bottom of the screen with a slider located directly above them.
8. Using the visual cues of various screenshots of your video inside the slider, adjust the pink box overlaying the timeline to correspond with where you want the text to appear in the video.
9. Tap the “play” button to preview the video.
10. Adjust the text as necessary.
11. Repeat as many times as you need to for a fully captioned TikTok video.
12. Press “done” in the top right corner of the screen.
Manually adding closed captions and subtitles on TikTok is a great way to increase engagement with your content.
How to order & add professional captions to TikTok videos
Professional captions are the best option if you’re looking to save time and get really accurate captions. You might have several TikTok videos you’d like to add captions to, and Rev is great for that. The cost is only $1.25 per video minute.
1. Take videos on your cell phone’s camera/video app
To get professional captions, you’ll need to first take videos on your camera app rather than on TikTok. You can also download your old TikTok videos or paste their video URL’s to add captions to them.
Upload your videos here and Rev’s network of 50,000 freelancers will caption your videos in a matter of hours. You’ll receive an email when they’re ready. You can also paste a TikTok video URL if you click “Paste a URL.”
3. Upload your caption files to your videos
It’s best to do this step with a computer. Send your video files to yourself using iCloud, Dropbox, Airdrop, or email so you can open them on your computer. Then use the free software Handbrake to add your caption files directly to your videos. You can also use Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut, or almost any video editing software you prefer.
Note: A caption file is a special text file that is synced with your video audio. The most popular formats are SRT (.srt) and WebVTT (.vtt). These formats are accepted by almost all video editors and social platforms.
4. Upload your videos to TikTok
Next you’ll need to send your video files back to your phone (using the same method you used to send them to your computer). Then upload your video file in the TikTok app. Here’s how to do this:
- In your TikTok app, press the plus “+” button to start
- In the camera menu, tap the “Upload” icon. You might need to give TikTok access to your photos
- Choose the video or videos that you added captions to on your computer
- Edit your video length and any other TikTok edits like effects, then click “Save”
- Add descriptions, adjust final TikTok settings and click “Post”
It’ a little tricky, but this is the best way we’ve found to add professional captions to TikTok videos!
How to post TikTok videos to YouTube with captions
To reach an even larger audience, be sure to download your TikTok videos, order closed captions for them (following the steps in the previous section), and post them to your YouTube channel. Post the URL for your YouTube channel with a note encouraging your TikTok followers and fans to view fully-accessible video content, there.
Here’s how to put your TikTok content on YouTube:
- Download your TikTok video on your phone by clicking the down arrow located in the right corner of the screen.
- Click “save video”. You can find extra help on the TikTok site under, “Download a video to your device”, as well.
3. Open YouTube and make sure you are signed in with the right Google account.
4. Click the camera icon in the right corner and choose “upload video”.
5. Either drag and drop your video file or select it from the menu.
YouTube uploads the video while you fill out the title and description. Be sure to add your TikTok user name in the video description so your YouTube followers can find your profile on TikTok, as well.
Also, add your YouTube channel to your TikTok profile so users can access your fully captioned content, there.
Caption your YouTube videos
When you caption your videos, you add timed transcription to your content. This allows viewers who want to watch with the volume turned down and those who have difficulty hearing to fully understand your video.
Here’s how to order captions for your YouTube video:
- Go to the Order Captions page on the Rev website.
2. Choose “Pull videos directly from your account”.
3. Click “YouTube” and allow Rev to access your content.
4. Select the videos you want to be captioned and add to the Rev cart. Here, you can choose to have Rev automatically deliver captions to your YouTube videos. If you want subtitles in another language, you can indicate that here, as well.
5. Click “checkout” to complete the process and let Rev handle the rest.
Sharing content across your TikTok and YouTube accounts is a great way to extend the reach of your videos and build a following. Although you can’t add captions to TikTok like you can with other social media platforms, you can manually add text to these 60-second videos. Uploading TikTok videos to YouTube and ordering captions from Rev is another workaround to help you offer fully-accessible content to your audience.