How to Add Subtitles or Captions with Kapwing

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Kapwing's Subtitler Tool is one of the web's most popular tools for adding subtitles to a video. Not only are subtitles a nice visual touch to projects, but they make videos more compelling and accessible. Creators can manually type their subtitle text or use cutting-edge AI-powered technology to automatically transcribe their video. Then, style and customize the appearance of the subtitle text before burning the captions directly into the MP4.

In this article, we'll teach Kapwing users how to use Kapwing's Subtitler Tool in the Kapwing Video Editor to add captions, subtitles, or an SRT file to a video.

Note: As of 4/4/23 our Classic Subtitler has been depreciated.

Step 1. Upload your video

On Kapwing, you can upload a video or audio file in a few different ways. Drag and drop a file, or import a video or audio file from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or other applicable websites by pasting a URL. You could also select a video already in your Kapwing Media Cloud.

Learn more about uploading content to Kapwing in this article on How to Upload Content onto Kapwing.

Step 2. Add subtitles

There are a few options for adding subtitles in Kapwing: you can save yourself time by creating them using our Magic Subtitles or you can manually write out the subtitles yourself.

Option 1: Magic Subtitles

Magic Subtitles allows you to auto-generate subtitles or translate any of your videos with the added flexibility of customizing their appearance and style. This tool will also generate a complete transcript of your video so you can edit the transcript directly in one go.

  1. After adding your video to the timeline, navigate to the "Subtitles" tab in the left side bar.
  2. Click the "Auto Subtitles" button and select the assets you do not want generated. Note: We automatically select all videos in the timeline.
  3. Select the language of the audio(s) and the desired subtitle output to generate your transcript.
  4. Once you have your transcript, the yellow dots indicate you are editing which ever asset is currently highlighted.
  5. If you have multiple assets, you can click on them to hide their corresponding subtitles.
  6. You can read through and edit the subtitles as needed.

You can also customize the subtitles on the screen by adjusting the "Characters Per Subtitle" slider. If you decide after the fact you want to translate, click the Translate icon and select which language you want to switch the subtitles over to.

If you would like to change the position of the subtitle, you can do so on the canvas. Just like you would with a text box, you can move the location of your subtitles on the video by dragging it.

There are also more customization options to style the subtitles like adding background padding or making the text boxes narrower or wider on screen. Choose from any of our style presets to automatically get a specific look, like "Pop Art," "Typewriter," or "Handwriting."

An example of what our Pop Art preset style looks like.

The style settings will be applied to the entire subtitle layer, but you can still edit to customize further to suit your branding and preferences.

Option 2: Manually add captions

You can manually add captions to your video by clicking the "Manual Subtitles" option.

Use the "+ Add New Subtitle Line" button to add a new subtitle line. The start time of new subtitles will default to the end time of the previous subtitle.

Repeat these steps to quickly transcribe your video:

  1. Click "+ Add New Subtitle Line"
  2. Play the video to listen to a line of text
  3. Type the text you just heard. Kapwing will jump back to the start time for that subtitle when you finish typing.
  4. Pause right when the text you heard finishes
  5. Click the "Set to current time" button that appears when you hover your cursor under the timestamp box.

How to Adjust the Caption Timing

From the left side tab experience, you can click the timestamps to input the exact time that you want them to be, or to use the arrows to seek through the video. You can also use the "Set to current time" buttons to change the timestamp match the video seeker.

From the top of page tab or full page subtitler, click then drag the sliders under your subtitle to adjust when your captions will appear and disappear.

You can also use the "the "Set to current time" buttons to change the timestamp match the video cursor, and click the timestamp box to use your keyboard ↑ ↓ or ← → to make fine adjustments.

What languages does Kapwing's automatic captions support?

Kapwing supports hundreds of languages.

How accurate is automatic transcription?

It depends on the audio quality of your video. For a video with good audio quality and clear diction, auto-transcription should be about 90% accurate. Kapwing leverages Google's Voice Recognition technology, so we're constantly improving the accuracy of transcription.

If you're having problems with the accuracy of Kapwing's auto-generate function, here are a few tips to make your transcription more accurate:

  • Check the audio quality of your video. Our tech is less accurate when the speaker is farther from the mic or there is background noise.
  • Make sure your language in the video is discrete and that you enunciate words loudly/clearly.
  • Double check that you've selected the right language/dialect from the auto-generate dropdown menu.

Does Kapwing support automated translation or bilingual subtitles?

Yes! When you auto-generate subtitles, you can select the option to "Translate transcript into another language". If you are manually adding subtitles, you can click the "Translate Subtitles" button to translate your subtitles to a different language.

However, please note you cannot have your one set of subtitles on screen as multipule languages. For example, if your audio in English, you cannot show the subtitles in both English and translated Spanish, you will need to pick one.

Can I auto-generate an audio file that has no visual?

Yes! You can auto-generate an audio file on it's own. To do so, just upload your audio layer and then go to the "subtitles" tab, and auto-generate as normal.

How to upload an SRT or VTT file to Kapwing

1. Click Upload .SRT/.VTT.

2. Select your .SRT or .VTT file in your file directory.

Check out our tutorial to see Subtitles in action:

We have certain restrictions on our Subtitle generation tool for users in a Free workspace. Please see our Pricing Page for more information.

Additional resources:

How to Add Captions to TikToks

How to Add Subtitles to An Instagram Video

How to Use .SRT Files on Kapwing

YouTube tutorials:

How to Add Auto Captions to Instagram Stories

How to Automatically Translate Videos Online

Looking for more help?

Check our Release Notes for tutorials on how to use the latest Kapwing features!