Most frequently asked questions editing subtitles files

This is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about editing subtitles files.

  • SRT (SubRip): A simple format that specifies the timecode for displaying each subtitle.

  • VTT (WebVTT): A web standards-based format commonly used for subtitles on Internet videos.

  • SUB/IDX: An outdated format consisting of a subtitle file (SUB) and an index file (IDX).ASS/SSA (Advanced SubStation Alpha / SubStation Alpha): An advanced format with extensive formatting options, such as font style, color, screen position and animation effects .

What is a subtitle file?

A subtitle file is a text file that contains the written text that appears on the screen while watching videos or movies. This text, also called subtitles, is intended to provide the viewer with a translation of spoken dialogue, relevant background information or other contextual details.

How to edit an SRT file?

Editing an SRT (SubRip) file can be done in different ways, depending on your needs and the type of editing you want to perform. Here are some general steps:

Manual editing with a text editor
Open the SRT file with a text editor: Use a text editor such as Notepad (Windows), TextEdit (Mac), Notepad++, or Sublime Text.

Bewerk de tekst:

Each subtitle in an SRT file consists of a number, a timecode and the associated text. Edit the text as desired, but make sure you adjust the timecode appropriately. Save the changes: After editing, save the file. Make sure you save the file as plain text (.txt) and not as formatted text (.doc or .rtf)

Make sure you save the file as plain text (.txt) and not as formatted text (.doc or .rtf) Using specific SRT editing software:

There are also specific programs designed for editing SRT files. Some examples are:

Subtitle Edit is a free and open-source program for editing subtitles in various formats, including SRT. Aegisub: An advanced subtitle editing program with many features for adjusting the timing, style and formatting of subtitles.

Online programs:

There are online platforms where you can upload and edit SRT files. Make sure you don’t share sensitive information on public platforms.
Subtitle Edit Online: An online version of the aforementioned program that supports subtitle editing. Amara: An online platform that allows editing and creating subtitles in different formats.

Always backup the original SRT file before editing. After editing, check that the time synchronization is still correct, as errors can disrupt the timing of subtitles.

How long can a subtitle be?

There is no strict rule for the maximum length of a subtitle, but there are general guidelines and recommendations. The length of a subtitle is often measured in characters per line and lines per subtitle.

Number of lines per subtitle: Ideally, the number of lines per subtitle should be limited to two, although some subtitle formats allow up to two lines.

Length per line: It is recommended to limit the length of a subtitle line to approximately 35 to 40 characters. Dit bevordert de leesbaarheid, vooral bij snelle weergave van ondertitels.

Reading time: Make sure that the reading time of a subtitle corresponds to the speaking time of the accompanying dialogue. In general, it is recommended to display subtitles on the screen for approximately 1 to 7 seconds, depending on the speed of the narration and its complexity. The goal is to keep the subtitles readable and understandable even when they appear quickly on the screen. Subtitles that are too long can be problematic, especially for viewers who don’t fully understand the language or have difficulty reading at high speed.

How do you remove a subtitle?

You can often disable this in the video file. If not then they are hardcoded into the file. The only thing you can do is place a beam over it so that it bothers you less.

How to adjust subtitles?

Adjusting subtitles can be done in different ways depending on the medium in which the subtitles are used. Here are some general steps for adjusting subtitles:
For online videos:
On YouTube: To adjust subtitles on YouTube, go to the video, click the gear icon at the bottom of the video window and select “Subtitles.”
For other platforms: Please refer to the subtitle settings or options on the specific platform where you are watching the video.
Met specifieke software:
If you have downloaded subtitles and want to edit them, you can use specific subtitle editing software such as Aegisub, Subtitle Edit, or Subtitle Workshop.
Open the subtitle files with the software and edit the text as desired.
In text editing programs:
Open the subtitle file with a text editing program such as Notepad (Windows), TextEdit (Mac), or a code editor such as Visual Studio Code.
Edit the text and save the file.
For streaming services:
Some streaming services offer the option to adjust subtitles. Go to the streaming service’s settings and look for subtitle options.
For embedded subtitles in videos:
If the subtitles are embedded directly into the video, editing them can be more complex. You could use a video editing program such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, or a free alternative like Shotcut.
Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to save the modified subtitles or apply the changes properly before sharing or saving the video. The process may vary depending on the specific program or service you use.

Why subtitle videos?

Subtitling videos offers several benefits and serves several purposes. Here are some reasons why videos are often captioned.

Accessibility: Closed captioning improves the accessibility of video content for the deaf and hard of hearing, allowing them to understand the information without relying on auditory elements.

Multilingualism: Subtitles make it possible to translate videos into different languages, reaching a wider audience that may not understand the original language. Improved Comprehensibility: Subtitles can increase the comprehensibility of spoken words, especially with accents, fast-paced dialogue, or technical jargon. They also provide visual support for what is happening in the video.

SEO Benefits: Captions can improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of videos because search engines can crawl and index the text. This can increase the findability of the video in search results.

Silence or Noise Reduction: In situations where the volume needs to be kept low, such as in public areas or late hours, subtitles can help convey the content of the video without playing the sound.

Educational Purposes: Closed captioning is useful in educational videos, where it can enhance the learning experience by synchronizing written text with spoken words, making it easier for viewers to understand and remember information. Regulatory Compliance: In some cases, it may be mandatory to add subtitles to comply with legal requirements regarding accessibility and anti-discrimination.

Can you subtitle Netflix?

Yes, Netflix offers closed captioning as part of its service to serve a broader audience, including people with hearing problems or viewers who do not understand the original language of the content. Here’s how to enable closed captions on Netflix:

On smart TVs and streaming devices:
Launch the Netflix app on your TV or streaming device.
Start playing the video.
Use the remote control to access the subtitle options and select your preferred language.
Netflix usually offers several subtitle options, including the original language and translations into different languages. It is important to note that the available languages and subtitle options may vary depending on the region and the specific content.

On the computer:
Start the video you want to watch.
Hover your mouse over the playback screen and click the “Speakers” icon (Audio & Subtitles).
Select “Subtitles” and choose the desired language.

On mobile devices (smartphones and tablets):
Launch the Netflix app and start playing the video.
Tap the screen to display the controls.
Tap the “Speakers” icon (Audio & Subtitles).
Select “Subtitles” and choose the desired language.

How are subtitles created?

A transcribed script is created that captures the spoken text in the video. This transcript can be created manually by a transcriber or generated automatically using speech recognition software.

Each part of the transcribed text is timed to correspond with when it is spoken in the video. This involves determining the start and end of each subtitle, usually measured in milliseconds.

If the video is in a different language than the original transcript, the transcribed text can be translated into the desired target language.

Subtitle formatting:
Adding formatting such as color, font style, size and position depending on aesthetic requirements and readability.

Control and Editing:
Subtitles are carefully checked for errors, grammatical inaccuracies and correct timing. This can be done manually or using special software.

Inbedden in de Video:
The subtitles are embedded in the video so that they play together with the visual and auditory elements.

To test:
After inserting the subtitles, the video is tested to ensure that the timing and formatting are correct.
There are several tools and software available to facilitate this process, and their use may depend on the specific requirements of the content creator. Professional subtitlers, translators, and video production companies often perform this process to ensure that the subtitles are accurate and effective.

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