Subtitle FAQ

Subtitle Basics
What are Subtitles?

Subtitles are foreign-language timed-text that display on screen so the viewer can read along with the video.

Subtitles are meant for video where the viewer can hear the audio, but can't understand the language being spoken. They translate the spoken language into a language the viewer understands.

Video producers, marketers, educators, etc. often use subtitles to expand their potential audience to new people and geographies.

What is the difference between Subtitles and Captions?

Captions are meant for video when the viewer is able to see the video but not hear it (often intended for deaf or hard-of-hearing). They communicate the video's spoken content and "atmospherics", which are sound effects that are part of the story. Rev's English Caption service is $1.00 per video minute. Learn more about captions.

Subtitles are intended for viewers who can hear the audio, but can't understand the language spoken. They translate the video's spoken and written language into the viewer's language. Rev's Subtitle service is $3.00 per video minute per language. For a limited time, you will receive a complimentary English Caption file with any language.

Both captions and subtitles use the same file formats, such as .srt and .scc. Read more about file formats.

What kind of Subtitles does Rev produce?

We produce timed-text, "sidecar" subtitle files (a separate file from the video) in wide array of formats. Our subtitles are all "pop on" (each section appears at once) for pre-recorded video files.

We do not provide "burnt-in" (permanently on the video) subtitles. We do not yet offer "roll up" (each word as it is spoken) subtitles. We also do not offer live subtitles.

Rev Subtitle Service
Languages: What languages can you create Subtitles in?

English videos (with or without English caption files) can be translated to Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Spanish.

We also have translators in many other languages with limited capacity. Please contact us with your unique needs.

Languages: What languages can the original video be in?

At this time, source videos must be in English. We have experimented with foreign language video captions and subtitles and periodically test with a select group of beta customers. If you are interested in being considered for videos in other languages, email us.

Price: What is the price of subtitles?

$3.00 per video minute per language. We believe this to be an incredible price on top of the industry leading turnaround and provided quality. We round up to the nearest minute.


  • For a 10 minute video in German: $30.00
  • For 1 minute video in 4 languages: $12.00
  • For a 4 minute video in 2 languages: $24.00
Price: Do you provide a bulk / volume discount?

No. We keep things simple and have only one low price for everyone, $3.00 per minute. To calculate price, we round each video up to the nearest minute.

Price: How do I pay for my subtitles?

The online order form will charge your credit card, debit card, or PayPal account at the time of ordering. You can securely save your preferred payment information in your account for future orders.

For customers with large, recurring needs, we offer monthly billing.

Price: Please explain your money-back guarantee.

We guarantee at least 99% accuracy for files that are clearly audible.

See our full list of guarantees

Turnaround: How long will subtitles take?

Video files under 30 minutes long are typically delivered within 48 hours, often much faster. For longer recordings or recordings with poor audio quality, it may take up to 96 hours.

The turnaround estimate is based on an individual video's length, not the total order size. For example, large orders with short videos will still be processed quickly.

Quality: How do you check quality of Subtitles?

We have built a proprietary tool to perform the work that preserves and makes it easy to adjust timing. We also test our workers and periodically check their work to ensure they are above our high standards.

If you experience otherwise, we want to know! We guarantee the work, so we are happy to provide corrections to issues created by any of our workforce.

Can spoken words and on-screen text be captured at the same time?

Our system conducts automatic quality checks that prevents overlapping captions groups, as many editor programs reject overlapping captions. If text appears on screen and has not been spoken and captured in captions and it carries significant meaning it will be provided with your subtitle. If words are spoken at the same time on-screen text appears and the on-screen text does not match the spoken words, only the spoken words will be captured.

Process: How does Rev produce Subtitles (so quickly for a great price)?

We have a team of fantastic English captioners and subtitle translators that work around the clock. We build custom tools to make the process easier and reduce errors.

To produce a Subtitle file, we:

  1. Accept your video, screen the file quality, and load it into our proprietary tool
  2. Add timed English captions to the file (our captions team)
  3. Convert the text into a new language (our language translation teams)
  4. Run our checks and post processing algorithms
  5. Spot check the accuracy of the translations
  6. Deliver it to the customer
Process: Who is working on my video?

Rev currently works with thousands of contractors vetted by rigorous testing and continually monitored for quality. These contractors are use their experience as well as typing and language talents to provide high-quality work.

For your security, our contractors all sign our strict confidentiality agreement and agree to be monitored while working on our platform.

What You Get
Output: What do I get back from Rev?

Timed, language-specific subtitle files in all the languages and formats ordered.

To provide our customers maximum flexibility, you do NOT receive a copy of the video with the subtitles permanently 'burnt-in.' However, this is easily accomplished with software mentioned below.

We produce text-based subtitle files, timed to appear on screen as your video plays. We first transcribe the English audio of your video and time it (a.k.a. a closed caption file). Next, we have our translators convert the text into another language and return the file-format you requested at checkout. You can find and download examples from our list of file formats we can provide.

The subtitle file is a separate sidecar file from your video. What you do next depends on how you intend to publish your video:

  • If you are publishing your video online (e.g. through YouTube or Kaltura) or submitting to a VoD service (e.g. iTunes or Hulu), then you can simply submit the subtitle files as-is.
  • If you want to add the subtitles as a track in your video (burnt-in), you'll need to take our subtitle file and encode it into the video. This is most common for DVD or Broadcast. We recommend using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Output: How do I get my finished subtitle files?

We'll email them to you as soon as they're ready. Once completed, you can also download them from your order history page (and copies in any other of our main subtitle formats).

File formats: What subtitle file formats can you provide?

We provide subtitles in a variety of different file formats. Below are our most commonly-requested formats. Click each to download an example file:

You can change your mind any time, even after you get the files back.

Note: Certain languages contain characters that are not recognized by a few of the above formats. We make this clear in our checkout process.

File formats: What subtitle file format do I need?

The SubRip (.srt) format is a common choice for YouTube and Vimeo videos. It's also extremely easy to edit subtitles in this format - you can open a .srt file in Notepad or TextEdit.

The MacCaption (.mcc) format is used for high-definition Broadcast TV. MacCaption is the only file format that can encode both 608 and 708 closed captioning. Rev supports the 29.97 fps frame rate.

The Scenarist (.scc) format is used for submitting to VoD stores like iTunes and Hulu. It's also used commonly in Broadcast TV and for editing in software such as Adobe Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro.

The TTML format (also known as XML or DFXP) is gaining in popularity. The FCC has declared TTML is the official caption file format for broadcasters publishing video online. Read more about TTML.

Don't stress about picking the right format at checkout. If you change your mind later, we're happy to provide your subtitle files in a different format, at no extra charge.

See the full list of supported formats with example files.

How to Order
Ordering: How can we get our videos to Rev?

Most customers use our online order form. The order form supports a few options:

  • Upload a video file directly from your computer. Each file must be less than 5 GB in size.
  • Paste in a link to an online video, such as Youtube or Vimeo.
  • Connect to videos already stored in an FTP server, Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. In the order form, click Upload File then select the cloud service on the left.

We also offer a number of alternative ways to order, depending on your needs:

  • Our API. This is the most flexible solution, if you can get a software programmer's time to build an integration with your company's workflow. Fully automate your workflow of sending us videos and receiving back finished subtitle files.
  • Zapier. Zapier is a robust workflow automation service. Zapier can integrate Rev with applications such as a Google Sheets spreadsheet and place orders on your behalf.

Email us for more info about these options.

Video formats: What video file formats can you accept?

We can accept all common digital video formats, such as MOV, AVI, MP4, VOB, Ogg and more. You can also paste a link to an online hosted video or use one of our integration partners.

Video formats: Do you need full-resolution, master video files?

No - we actually prefer lower-resolution versions of your video for our subtitling work. A smaller file is quicker to upload, which allows us to start work even faster.

We recommend reducing the video resolution to 640 x 480 and using the MP4 format with H.264 encoding. A 30 minute video should be less than 600 MB.

Optional: What closed caption file formats can you accept?

It is optional to provide English Closed Caption files for our translators to reference as they create your foreign language subtitle files. However, including English Closed Caption files makes the subtitling process move faster.

Your caption file must be submitted in .srt format.

If you have other formats, please try our caption converter or email us to see whether your format can be converted to .srt.

Optional: Can I give you a transcript or vocabulary list for my video?

Yes. Providing a transcript is helpful - simply upload it into the Optional Information section of the checkout under reference material. It does not change the price of our service, but usually increases the quality and speed of our service.

Security: How do you protect my content?

We serve many clients with sensitive content, from pre-release films to video reviews of products not yet announced to the public. Our clients care about content confidentiality and so do we. Our reputation and our business depend on us protecting the privacy of our clients' content.

Your content is yours - we will never sell your content or distribute it outside of Rev. Our workforce is carefully curated and every worker signs a strict NDA and confidentiality agreement. Our technology platform uses bank-level encryption, combined with best practice operations, to keep your content secure.

Handling Finished Subtitles
How can I view and edit the subtitle file?

If you simply want to view the subtitles, you can upload your video to YouTube as a private video and upload the subtitle file in an appropriate section of the video manager.

We recommend the following software for editing subtitles:

How do I add the subtitles to my video?
  1. All major browser-based online video platforms can directly ingest our subtitle files as a sidecar file. Simply upload the subtitle file for each of your videos. For more info, check out:

  2. All major VoD stores accept subtitles as a separate sidecar file. You can submit your subtitle file to them directly, after you do a quick quality check of your own.
  3. There are many workflows and use cases for how to embed subtitles as a track within a video file. We can't provide instructions on all of them, but here are some helpful starting points for you to do some research:

    Other 3rd party programs exist that help you manage subtitling workflows. They can ingest our subtitle file and help you encode it to the video. MacCaptions is the most popular program, whether you are working with Final Cut or authoring DVD and BluRay.

    If you are adding subtitles for distribution to many different internet-enabled devices, start here: Closed Captioning for Web, Mobile and TV.

Can I have the video back with Subtitles always on?

This is called burnt-in subtitles. In order to provide customers maximum flexibility, we only deliver "sidecar" timed text subtitle files. This allows customers to either embed the subtitles into the full-quality video or allow users to toggle subtitles of different languages on and off.

Read more about adding finished subtitles as a track in your video.

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