If you’re the type who’s a fan of foreign films, anime, or even historical dramas where characters speak their native language for authenticity, you know how important subtitles are. It’s definitely better than having the immersion ruined by bad dubbing.
It’s one thing to enjoy subtitles, but entirely another to create them. What if you have something you’re working on that needs English subtitles? How do you add them?
You’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you all about how to add subtitles in the paragraphs below.
1. Subtitles, Captions, and Hearing
If you’re not making a video in a foreign language, it may be tempting to pass up subtitling altogether. However, subtitles and captions benefit not only those learning a language, but native speakers as well.
One of the most obvious uses for captions and subtitles is for those with hearing issues. Originally, captioning and subtitling were two different things.
Captioning referred almost entirely to sound effects, such as music, and any noises that seemed important to the plot. Subtitles, on the other hand, referred almost exclusively to dialogue. Today, there’s still a tendency to focus on dialogue and avoid most of the sound effects.
Eventually, those making videos realized that those who had trouble with sound effects probably couldn’t hear speech very well, either. Captioning began to include both dialogue and, in many cases, relevant noises, and the two terms became interchangeable.
We’ve already mentioned that subtitles can be of great help to non-native speakers. Something you learn quickly when studying a language is that translating written words is much easier than spoken ones.
People tend to speak quickly in their native languages, so it’s difficult to pick up what they’re saying. With subtitles, this process can often work backward. You can read the words, and then hear them in the dialogue because you now know what to listen for.
This trick even works if you’re reading English subtitles, but know the translations of various words.
3. Programs and Services
Believe it or not, there are a lot of companies that have been built on the premise of subtitling videos. These services will, for a certain amount of money, add captions to videos for you.
One of the most famous video sharing sites is Youtube, and its site offers free captioning services. Unfortunately, not all sites do this, and Youtube does it because it has a vested interest in the video being more accessible, and therefore more popular.
Others make their living selling software that can make the whole process much simpler. Either way, it’s a good idea to know how to manage money, just in case the process ends up being expensive.
Figuring out how to use these services or the software they provide can be confusing, so many will teach you how to add subtitles to video.
4. On Your Own
If you can’t or prefer not to use a captioning service, there’s always the old-fashioned way. Most video editing software has some form of captioning option.
Speech-to-text is one such option. However, this technology is still in its infancy, so you won’t get a completely accurate translation from it. It does work as a nice jumping-off point since it’s much easier to read through a script and make corrections than it is to transcribe the whole thing from scratch.
The manual option does still exist, and if you’re a fast and reliable typist, or don’t mind a lot of work, you might want to pursue it. This is also a good option if your video is short.
5. Bit By Bit
Unlike other types of transcription, most video software breaks the video down into sections, so it’s easier to manage. You just listen to a section of the video, put in the captions for what’s said in that section and continue.
Between captioning and correcting, this can take a while, especially if you’re working on a longer video.
6. Captioning and How You Benefit
We’ve already talked about how English subtitles help those with hearing issues and anyone still learning the language, but what do you have to gain from this? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
Captioning tends to increase video traffic in a big way. The largest increases in views, shares, and likes occur in social media, and it’s not hard to see why.
We live in an age where checking Facebook at work, posting status updates on the bus, and browsing Twitter under the desk at school are things we all do and pretend we don’t.
In the interest of keeping our harmless secrets, we prefer to keep the sound muted, so any ad, video, or other pieces of media without sound becomes useless. Content creators now have the option of adapting to this new age of silence with captions or risk being left behind.
English Subtitles and Why They’re Important
Video captioning serves many different purposes. It allows those with hearing issues to enjoy the same media as the rest of us.
It can also help us learn new languages. Being able to read what’s being said in the English subtitles makes it easier for us to recognize words in the video.
The good news is that creating subtitles is a simple process, though it can be time-consuming. Some services will do it for you if you’re willing to pay for it, but video-editing software allows you to create your own captions as well.
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