The internet is a global space. People from every country on Earth, speaking every language on Earth, browse social media platforms, watch videos, and participate in trends. And in most countries, people are multilingual, speaking a few languages –maybe English, Spanish, or Arabic – often in addition to their native language.
Video is also on the rise as a marketing tool, storytelling device, and entertainment medium. Although some social platforms and web browsers provide translations of text, they do not translate videos. As a result, video publishers should translate their videos or provide bilingual subtitles to reach multilingual and foreign audiences.
To reach bilingual viewers and meet the demands of internet users, you might want to add two sets of subtitles to the same video. In this article, I'm going to show you how to add bilingual subtitles to your videos using Kapwing, a free online video editor that works on both Mac and Windows computers, as well as all phones and tablets.
There are four steps to adding bilingual subtitles to your video:
- Upload your video to the Kapwing Subtitle Maker
- Create your first set of subtitles in language #1
- Create your second set of subtitles in language #2
- Publish & download
Step 1: Upload Your Video to the Kapwing Subtitle Maker
First, you'll need to find the video you want to subtitle. You might want to share a video you saw online with a bilingual group of friends on social media. YouTube, for example, is the internet's most popular video sharing site (by far!), and it can automatically translate its subtitles, but it doesn't allow you to embed its videos on platforms like Facebook or Twitter. So if you want to share any video you found online to Facebook, Twitter, and all other major social media platforms, you'll need to get the video yourself and add subtitles to it. To get started, just copy the URL to the video you want to use.
Or, you might want to use a video file that you already have saved on your device. If you have a video of you speaking directly to your viewers, it's a great idea to provide a translation and broaden your audience! To get started with a video you have saved, just make sure you know where it is in your file browser.
With either your URL or file location in hand, go to Kapwing.com, click on "Tools" in the top menu, and navigate to the "Subtitler" option in the Tools menu. Now, either paste the URL you copied, or click "Upload" and select the correct video in your file browser.
Step 2: Create Your First Set of Subtitles in Language #1
Now, it's time for the important part. Once your video is in the Subtitler tool, you have 2 options. If your video has clear, audible speech, your best bet is to use the auto-transcription tool. It's still in beta testing, but its transcriptions are highly accurate, and will only require you to make a couple of small edits. Just select "Auto-Generate" from the bottom of the window and wait for Kapwing's AI to transcribe your video and set the subtitles' timing.
If your video has significant background noise, or the speech isn't very clear, you'll probably want to add your subtitles manually. Just click the purple "Add Subtitle" button and enter the text spoken in the video, one line at a time. Each new subtitle will be placed immediately after the one before it, and you can change the timing of your subtitles by clicking & dragging the buttons beneath the text.
Step 3: Create Your Second Set of Subtitles in Language #2
This next step is just as easy, but you have a couple different options. The first option uses Kapwing itself. In the Kapwing Subtitler, you can create your subtitles in any language, but you can only use one language at a time. The easiest way to create two different subtitle layers is simply to export your video with your original language, then re-upload that video to the Studio and create a translated subtitle layer. That's it!
If you'd prefer to translate your subtitles in just one subtitle layer, you'll need to use another tool – Google Translate is probably the easiest, most accessible, and most reliable. Start by copying the first line of your subtitles (highlight it, right-click, select "copy"), going to the Google Translate tab, and pasting the line into the left field of the Translate console. Now, select the output language on the right side of the console. The console will automatically translate your line of text in almost no time!
Now, simply copy the output translation from Google Translate by clicking the "Copy" button on the right side of the console – it looks like two rectangles stacked on top of each other. Back in the Kapwing tab, select the line you copied and press return/enter. On this new line, paste the translated text. Kapwing supports all typographical characters, so any language you use should be formatted and presented correctly. Since you're providing subtitles in two languages, they'll probably take up too much space on the screen and interfere with your video. If you're formatting your video for a particular space or aspect ratio, simply make your subtitles' font smaller! On the left side of the Subtitler window, select the middle button right under "Text Options" to change the size of your subtitles.
Alternatively, you can re-format your video in the Subtitler, as well. Just click on "Original" under Video Options on the left side of the window. Here you can change your video's aspect ratio and add padding to the top & bottom of your video. Just make sure you've selected "Fit" in the next box. This is the best option if you're planning to share your content somewhere that fully supports taller videos (like Facebook, rather than Twitter), and you don't want your subtitles to interfere with your video whatsoever.
Step 3: Publish & Download
When you're finished with both sets of subtitles, and your video is formatted just right, click "Create" in the lower left-hand corner of the window. Your video will automatically begin to process, so give it some time – longer videos can take up to a few minutes to publish.
Once your video is done processing, click "Download" to save it to your device. If you’re using a mobile device, you’ll need to download the very small Kapwing mobile app from the App Store. The app doesn’t require any login – it’s only meant to help you download your videos! To download your video on your iPhone, just copy the URL of the download page and paste it into the URL field in the Kapwing app.
Downloading your video is best if you're planning to post it on social media, but you can also embed your video directly into a website or blog post. Just click "Embed," then "Copy," and you can embed your video anywhere.
Remember to tag us @KapwingApp whenever you share your content on social media– we love to see what our creators are passionate about! And be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources page – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.