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How to Add Subtitles to a Video Online

illustration of guy watching TV with Rev subtitles

RevBlogSubtitlesHow to Add Subtitles to a Video Online

Have you ever started watching a video with subtitles, only to realize that the subtitles did not match what you were hearing? It probably left you confused, irritated, or maybe laughing if the subtitles were way off the mark!

George Constanza from Seinfeld squinting

What about a video with no subtitles at all? That can be just as annoying, or even more so, than inaccurate subtitles. You may be trying to watch the video in a noisy place, such as a crowded airport, where you can’t hear it well enough without blasting a hole in your own eardrums. Or, you may be watching the video in a quiet location, such as an office or waiting room, and would rather not make others listen to it, too.

Adding subtitles to videos can definitely improve a video-watching experience. Anyone who creates online videos, such as teachers or content marketers, should make sure to always add subtitles to video to enhance the user experience.

Numerous sources have found that a significant majority of Facebook users watch videos without the sound. Unless you add subtitles to video, it could ruin the viewer’s experience, drive away traffic, and reduce engagement.

Add subtitles to your online videos to increase views and brand awareness.

Why Your Videos Need Subtitles

Video is everywhere online these days, which means your videos have to compete with a lot of others for attention. Subtitles are a great way to grab the eyes of someone scrolling through their social-media feed or a web page. Not only that, but adding quality subtitles to your video can keep your messaging clear and consistent.

By adding subtitles to video, you will:

  • Accurately convey your organization’s message
  • Make content accessible to hard-of-hearing or non-English speakers
  • Demonstrate your commitment to quality
  • Improve the user experience

The best subtitles to add to your video are:

  • Legible, using a sans-serif font with a consistent width and thick outlines
  • Readable, appearing on-screen long enough for the viewer to follow easily
  • Produced in a font that supports the use of symbols, such as music notes, that can provide additional information
  • Timed to follow the pacing of spoken words as closely as possible
  • Similar in style to the spoken word, even if the subtitles have to be abridged
  • Created to appear in about two lines of about 35 characters

Are There Easy Solutions for Video Subtitles?

There are plenty of options for adding subtitles to your video. You may be able to add free subtitles to video, or download cheap or free software that can add subtitles to video automatically. The right solution may depend on your goals or budget. But not all solutions can provide equal results.

Computer-Generated Subtitles

Many video-hosting sites also offer speech-recognition software that can add subtitles to video automatically once you upload them to the website. For example, one feature allows you to add subtitles to video automatically on YouTube. However, these options are not available for all languages. Facebook has a similar feature to add subtitles to video, but currently it is available only in English.

As with any speech-recognition software that can add subtitles to video automatically, your mileage may vary. Details in the video’s audio can affect the quality of the final result. Such details include audio quality, background noise, mispronunciations, variations in accents, or multiple speakers talking over each other.

Hiring Non-Native English Speakers

Hiring people from anywhere in the world is easier now than it has ever been. Many jobs can be performed anywhere with the right technology, giving companies and individuals a larger pool of candidates to choose from. Because of this, you might be tempted to contact a non-native speaker to add subtitles to an English-language video.

There are some potential drawbacks to this, however. Unless they are thoroughly fluent in English, there is a good chance that they may miss some of the subtler elements of language. A non-native English speaker may not recognize regional or cultural expressions, or may not be able to understand different accents.

Free Subtitle Services

Free subtitle services, whether human- or computer-generated, may seem like the easiest way to go for creating video subtitles. Unfortunately, when you add subtitles to video on a free app, this tends to have the same drawbacks as the previous two options combined.

As with many things, you get what you pay for with free subtitle services and apps. Working for little or no pay, individuals involved are less motivated to perform quality work. If the free service uses speech-recognition software, it may not be able to capture subtleties in the audio. Free versions of subtitle services also tend to have limited options, such as video length or file formats, compared to more professional services.

animated gif of a computer with an angry face and arms typing

Many “easy” solutions end up costing you more in the end.

When you think about spending time and money on adding subtitles to your video online, it’s important to adopt a long-term perspective. Free or cheap services for adding captions could help you save money now, but if they give you low-quality results, it could cost you more in the long run.

Sending the Wrong Message

Remember the game of telephone? A group of people sit in a line or a circle, and the first person whispers a phrase to the person next to them. Each person whispers the phrase to their neighbor. The fun comes from hearing how the phrase has changed by the time it reaches the last person.

When it comes to your video content, however, you’re not playing a game. You want to make sure the viewer only gets the message that you intended to convey. If you add subtitles to video with the wrong service, the subtitles could be incorrect, sending the wrong message and providing inaccurate information to the person watching the video.

Woman from Jurassic Park making over my head signal

Reduced Video Accessibility

About 466 million people, or more than 5 percent of the world’s population, has disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. By 2050, this number could grow to 25 percent, or more than 900 million people. When the subtitles you add to your videos are accurate, you ensure that deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers can also access your video content.

Quality videos send the message that your company has high standards and values your audience.

Adding subtitles to the video also may improve accessibility for non-English speakers. Those who do not speak English fluently may find it easier to understand the video’s content if there are subtitles they can follow. Another option is to provide translations for English subtitles. The improved accessibility from adding subtitles to your video can also improve your reputation and brand awareness, as more consumers can consume your content and recognize your brand as one that values inclusivity and accessibility.

Less Engagement

Users who need or prefer subtitles may come across your video and start watching it, only to give up after seeing the subtitles are low-quality or nonexistent. This reduces the user’s chance of engaging with the video, such as leaving a comment or sharing it with others. Research from video marketing company Wyzowl shows that 83 percent of consumers would consider sharing a branded video they enjoyed. Add subtitles to help them enjoy a video, encouraging them to share it with friends.

Add quality subtitles to your video to engage viewers who might not have watched the video otherwise.

If your video is able to play automatically, such as in a Facebook feed, then the right subtitles can help capture the attention of viewers as they scroll past. Add quality subtitles to your video to engage viewers who might not have watched the video otherwise.

Loss of Brand Recognition and Brand Awareness

Because a lack of subtitles could lead to reduced engagement, including lower video views and fewer shares, this could go on to negatively impact your brand recognition. Video repeatedly has been shown to be highly effective for the growth of small and medium-sized businesses. Add subtitles to video online to increase views and brand awareness.

Tyra Banks being sassy asking do you know who I am?

Loss of Sales Opportunities

If you’re using video to help generate sales and revenue for your company, it is especially important to add subtitles that have been optimized for the video and its purpose. For example, if you provide a video demonstrating your product or service, adding subtitles can help the viewer understand the product’s features. With a how-to video, subtitles can help the viewer understand and complete the necessary steps. Good video subtitles can help you demonstrate knowledge and authority, making it more likely the viewer will purchase from your company.

According to data from HubSpot and reported in Forbes, 90 percent of users say that product videos help their buying decisions. Sixty-four percent of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. If your videos aren’t providing the best experience possible for viewers, you’re missing out on a chance to increase your profits.

If your videos aren’t providing the best experience possible for viewers, you’re missing out on a chance to increase your profits.

Damaged Perception and Reputation

With so many websites, social media platforms, and other options for entertainment and information, consumers are choosier than ever. They have less patience for slow-loading websites, intrusive advertisements, and generally low-quality content.

Churning out cheap, inferior videos that confuse or frustrate viewers is a sure way to hurt your reputation and bottom line. Poor subtitles in your video can send the message, however unintentional, that your organization is unprofessional, careless, mediocre, or in bad financial shape. Since most consumers aren’t looking to engage with a business like that, it’s important to add only high-quality subtitles to your videos. Superior videos send the message that your company has high standards and values your audience.

Do you need to sacrifice quality for fast, cheap subtitles?

The good news is, you don’t have to break your budget to add subtitles to video online. Rev’s caption service offers a flat rate, quick turnaround time, and accurate results to help you produce the most effective video content.

Transparent Pricing

Rev charges $1.25 per minute of video, meaning a 30-minute video will cost $30.00. Although the videos must be in English, we offer subtitles for multiple foreign languages for $3 per minute.

High accuracy

Rev boasts a 99-percent accuracy rate or better for the captions you add to your video. Only native English speakers provide captions and transcriptions, so regional accents and cultural expressions won’t be missed.

Fast results

If you’re working on a tight deadline, that’s not a problem. You can expect a turnaround time of 24 hours or less for subtitles to videos under 30 minutes.

Jim Carrey typing furiously on the computer gif


There is no minimum or maximum length for the videos you submit for captions. Rev also works with a wide variety of video and caption formats.

Easy purchase

Upload your video to our website or link directly to a video file online. Use the online order form to charge your credit/debit card or PayPal account. We’ll email you the finished files when we’re done.

Secure and confidential

Rev uses TLS 1.2 encryption, the highest level of security available, for storing and transmitting your files. We also don’t share your files or personal data with anyone outside of Rev. Our professionals sign strict confidentiality agreements, and we can always delete your files if you ask us to do so.

Guaranteed accessibility

Rev guarantees that our caption files meet FCC requirements for open and closed captioning of web and TV video. Our files also meet Section 508 and ADA requirements for video captioning.

Keep Your Video Content Up-to-Date

As video content continues to grow, it’s important to add subtitles to videos that are accurate and help create an enjoyable user experience. This will not only help you get the right message across, but also can encourage customer loyalty and nurture your company’s reputation.