How to Auto-Subtitle a Video

In this article, I'll tell you all about Kapwing's Auto-Subtitle and Auto-Translate tools and how to use them with any video.

How to Auto-Subtitle a Video

Creators need an automated solution to save them the time and energy of tediously transcribing videos to generate an SRT file, adding closed captions, or embedding subtitles directly into the video file before sharing on social media.

Kapwing's AI-powered auto-subtitling tool solves this problem and speeds up the process of adding captions to videos. I'll tell you all about Kapwing's Auto-Captioning tool and how to use it with any video.

A screenshot of the Kapwing Subtitler tool.

How to Automatically Generate Subtitles on a Video

Get started by heading to in your browser and clicking Start Editing to enter the Kapwing Studio. Here, you can upload any video from your device or paste a link to a video online (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and so on). You can also click Google Drive to quickly sign in and import a video from your account.

Once the video is fully uploaded to the Studio, select the Subtitle tool in the upper toolbar and hit the green Auto-transcribe button. In this menu, you can also select the video's language, and even select another language for Kapwing's auto-translation feature. After a minute or so, your generated subtitles will appear in the editor. Then, you can tweak and perfect the subtitles before adding them to your video.

A screenshot of Kapwing's auto-captioning tool.

Using a voice recognition technology, Kapwing listens to the audio track of your video and automatically transcribes the words. After the text is generated, use Kapwing's Subtitle Editor to review, correct any misspellings, punctuation, or missing text, and adjust the timings before exporting the video.

After you've generated your subtitles, use Kapwing to resize and tweak the styling of the text on the video before burning the captions into your MP4. You can adjust the font style to coincide with your branding, add a colorful background to make your text pop, and adjust the size to ensure your subtitles are readable. Alternatively, you an upgrade to Kapwing Pro to download an .SRT file for use across social media platforms.

How Do Auto Subtitles Work?

Kapwing leverages Google's "smart" voice recognition API to listen to the audio in your video and transfer it into words for the bottom of your video. It can generate subtitles in any language. Our language drop-down menu allows users to select their dialect to make the transcription more accurate. For example, if you're from the UK and speak with a British accent, you can select English (UK) for a more accurate transcription.

Video tutorial on auto subtitles on Kapwing

In our experience, the auto-transcription is about 90% accurate.

At Kapwing, we believe that machine learning should be a tool to complement rather than replace creative skills. That’s why the Kapwing subtitler imports the AI-generated transcription into a full editor that you can adjust and change. Creators add their subtitles only once they’ve reviewed, tweaked, and perfected the text that will appear on their video.

Automated subtitling is Kapwing’s first technology that uses AI to supplement human creativity. Auto-Subtitling will save social media creators time without sacrificing the clarity and engagement that captions add for video viewers.

A screen recording of Kapwing's subtitle editor.

Using the most cutting edge technologies developed by Google and IBM, automated transcripts are still only 70-95% accurate. However, Kapwing’s Subtitle Maker allows creators to go through and correct the words and timing that the Auto-Subtiler gets wrong. For example, computers might misspell the name “Kathryn” as “Catherine” or might hear the name “Catherine” when the character actually says “Cat — I’m in!” But Kapwing creators and style, enhance, and correct the captions before adding them to their video. They can also add in additional annotations, labels, and punctuation to emphasize the meaning.

Why Add Subtitles Automatically?

Captions make videos more accessible to people with hearing disabilities. They also enhance viewer’s engagement with video clips on social media, making them more clear and memorable. Since Kapwing burns the videos directly into the video file (known as "open captions"), they will appear with the same style for every person who views the video.

We hope that auto-subtitling will encourage more creators to subtitle their videos on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. People have even started adding subtitles on TikToks.

I hope this article lets you get started on adding captions to all your videos – it's more important than ever in 2021. If you're interested in more tips and tutorials on creating great video content, check out Kapwing's YouTube channel. And while you're here, look through some related articles on subtitles and digital accessibility:

How to Edit Videos with Kapwing
How to Add a Voiceover with Subtitles
7 Web Accessibility Lessons You Might not Know
How to Add Bilingual Subtitles

Create content faster with Kapwing's online video editor →