“Many of us have become more comfortable learning visually. Delivering information on a product, service, or company through video can help to keep your audience’s attention longer and make what you have to say more easily understood.” – Savannah Stewart
Videos are one of the most powerful and engaging digital marketing tools today. Recent data shows that about 87% of businesses globally use video marketing. However, a sizable number of video content are not accessible to certain audiences. Why? Simply because they lack captions and subtitles.
Video accessibility is required by international web accessibility standards. Plus, adding captions and subtitles to your video improves how people understand your content and encourages viral sharing. So, what are your options? We’ll get to that soon, but first, let’s get some definitions straight.
What are Captions?
What are Subtitles?
Subtitles are translations of the spoken audio into a language the viewer or listener can understand. Unlike captions, subtitles do not include background sounds or sound effects.
In the image below, both a closed captioning and subtitling (from English to French language) were used:
How to Add Captions and Subtitles to Videos
Video Editing Software
Online Video Sharing Websites
YouTube is the most widely used video sharing website world over. Ensuring your YouTube videos are optimized for accessibility is very important if you want to extend your reach.
To add captions to a YouTube video, do the following. Make a YouTube video and then upload it to the YouTube studio editor. From there, you can choose to add new subtitles or closed captions from the subtitles panel.
You can choose from three options. Upload an SRT file, transcribe manually, or use YouTube’s auto-transcribing (you can edit what they’ve already done).
You can upload an SRT file if you have already created one. If you want to edit it, you can click on any of the options to make changes.
That’s all there is to it.
You can easily edit YouTube’s auto-translation after it is finished if you choose to use it.
Social Media Websites
Faceook provides a couple of ways to add captions to videos. As of 2016, 85% of Facebook videos were watched on mute, so captions are a great way to ensure your videos can be understood on mute.
Facebook will automatically create captions for your videos if you post them to a Business page. To create captions, follow these steps:
First, upload your video.
Drag your video to the “Write something…” section of the page, or click the “Share a photo or video” icon to upload one from your computer.
Facebook will begin uploading your video in the popup. In the “Say something about your video…” box, you can also add the copy for your video. This copy will appear alongside your video post in the Facebook feed.
Select ‘Save Draft’ from the drop-down next to the Publish button. You can schedule your video later, don’t worry. Meanwhile, the video will still be a draft, available in Publishing Tools > Posts > Drafts.
When you get the popup about your video processing, click on the Edit Video button when you’ve saved your video as a draft.
When you click “Edit Video,” you’ll see several tabs. You’ll find an option to upload an SRT file here (which we’ll cover later). If, however, you wish to generate captions automatically, click the Generate button.
Having trouble seeing the Generate button?
Your video may still be processing. If this is the case, go to Publishing Tools > Video Library to see if your video is there or if it is still being processed. Come back later to auto-add captions if it’s still processing.
Lastly, Facebook’s caption auto-generator will automatically generate the captions once you click Generate, but you should review them before saving them to your video, to be sure the auto-generator generated the correct captions.
If you play the video, Facebook’s suggested captions will appear. In the popup window, you can edit any of the captions on the right side. Click on the text you want to edit in the caption you want to edit and scroll down to find it.
Do It Yourself
The first thing you need to do is watch your video and transcribe the audio. Logging spoken words in your video is just one part of this task, but you also need to note other important audio cues in the video. Transcribing a video by yourself is not an easy task. There are transcription services that can help you.
It is crucial to pay attention to timing for closed captions and subtitles. Having subtitles that do not line up with the speakers will confuse your audience, so it’s important to save time codes. Prior to moving on to the next step, make sure your transcriptions are as accurate as possible.
Make an .SRT File. Then save the file as a .SRT. This is the most universal file type for subtitles. Additionally, Facebook and LinkedIn only accept this format when publishing videos.
Lastly, upload your web video file along with the .srt file to the platform of your choice. Before you publish your video, most sites will allow you to check the subtitles to confirm that they are shown at the right time in the video. Be sure to confirm the accuracy to ensure that your long form or short video reaches the largest audience possible.