Kapwing's Add Caption tool is one of the web's most popular tools for adding subtitles to a video. 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 Caption Video tool or Studio to add captions, subtitles, or an SRT file to a video. Captions make videos more compelling and accessible on social media.

Getting Started with Kapwing

The first step is to choose your  tool for video editing. On Kapwing, there are two ways to add subtitles: the Studio and the stand-alone Add Captions tool.

Studio: Kapwing's unified multimedia suite has a "Subtitles" tab. Use this tool if you want to make other edits to your video, like trimming, adding text, or adding an overlay. The Studio also supports more file types, like audio files. Most of our development team focuses on the Studio, so it tends to get new features faster.

Upload Video

On Kapwing, you can upload a video, drag and drop a file, or import a video from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or other websites. To subtitle an MP3 file, "Start with a blank canvas" in Studio and add the MP3 file in the "Audio" tab. This is useful for making podcast audiograms or lyric videos.

In the Studio, each scene must be subtitled separately.

Add Subtitles

Kapwing's Subtitle Editor shows a first subtitle that you can fill in. Click on the "Write your subtitles here..." placeholder text to type your first caption.

Use the "+ Add subtitle" 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 Subtitle
  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 below the end timestamp box

How to Adjust the Caption Timing?

Click the drag the sliders under your subtitle to adjust when your captions will appear and disappear.

Use the "Set to current time" buttons to change the timestamp match the video cursor.

Click the timestamp box and use your keyboard ↑ ↓ or ← → to make fine adjustments.

Auto-generate Captions

Kapwing's Subtitle View allows you to automatically transcribe the audio of your video. Click the green "auto-generate" button on mobile or desktop then edit the text and timings before downloading the SRT or embedding the text in your video.

How to Auto-Generate  Subtitles for my video?

First, come to Kapwing's Studio and upload your video. Then, click the "Subtitles" tab. Follow these steps to auto-generate subtitles for your video:

  1. Wait for your video to finish uploading.
  2. Click the green Auto-generate button.
  3. Select the language of your video.
  4. Click Auto-generate.
  5. Wait for the algorithm to finish transcribing
  6. Correct and edit the auto-generated captions
  7. Click "Done" and "Export Video" to embed the text into the video or download the SRT file for closed captions

After your captions are generated, you can edit the generated captions and adjust the timestamps. For example, you might split one longer subtitle into two subtitles using the "Duplicate" button.

What languages does Kapwing's automatic captions support?

Kapwing supports hundreds of languages and dialects. For example, you might choose "English(Great Britian)" or "English (United States)" depending on your accent.

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.

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 a scene specific audio layer and then go to the "subtitles" tab, and auto-generate as normal.

This feature only works for scene specific audio, and does not work for global audio files.

Upload SRT file

1. Click Upload .SRT.

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

*** Subtitled videos are free to create, and users may upload .SRT files without upgrading. Downloading the .SRT file from Kapwing requires a Kapwing Pro upgrade. ***

YouTube tutorial:

Additional resources:

How to Add Subtitles to an IGTV Video

How to Add Captions to a Video

How to Make an SRT File

Adding Subtitles From an .SRT File

How to Edit an SRT File

YouTube tutorials:

Add subtitles to your video with Kapwing's video subtitle maker

How to Transcribe a YouTube Video