Here we explain everything about subtitling: from TV subtitling to subtitling your favourite series to subtitling video content. Yes, subtitling isn't just for TV or movies, it's also increasingly applied to content marketing and even advertising.


What is captioning?


In an animated film, a comedy or any other film, you've already seen it: subtitling is a technique that makes it possible to transcribe the audio of audiovisual content. Subtitling is widely used in the film and television industry. Subtitles can prevent the dubbing of a film, video, DVD etc. into another language. In the Nordic countries, subtitling is more common in the cinema than in French-speaking countries where dubbing is preferred.


Subtitles consist of displaying the text at the bottom of the image when the image is broadcast. The soundtrack is therefore transcribed into text throughout the audiovisual content. The words are not the only elements transcribed, the inscriptions that appear on the screen can also be transcribed, sometimes also the sounds. To make good subtitling, it is not enough to re - write the text said, it has to be reformulated (especially if it is in a new language) and then, above all, the subtitle track has to be synchronized with the sounds so that the texts displayed coincide with the broadcast shot. Some subtitles are specially adapted for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This is known as teletext subtitling, which is mainly used on television. Teletext subtitling is available on most DTT channels.


Today the subtitle is not confined to cinema, it has entered into pop culture as with the Loopsider or Brut videos. It is an integral part of the story being told and is increasingly used in digital communication. The subtitle is becoming an essential part of marketing video, from live conference videos to advertisements. Yes, videos are more and more consulted from a mobile terminal, but they are found only in transport or on the street, there is a lot of animation so it is not always possible for the user to activate the sound: subtitles are therefore becoming the solution! Subtitles allow you to always follow the story even when the viewing context is noisy.

What are the steps in subtitling?


Subtitling work is divided into 3 steps.

The transcript


All the lyrics will be transcribed. For teletext subtitling, information on the screen (e.g. road signs) and sounds are also transcribed. The translation work can be done at this point or at the next stage.



Once the text data is recovered, it should be used to share it in sequences. Then we need to integrate temporal data, called time code, into them. These text and time data together form the subtitles, they can be directly integrated into the videos or be saved as a subtitling file (for example, the best known is the .SRT file). In order to integrate the time data and sequence, the entry and exit points of the dialogues must be recorded. This mapping allows the synchronization of text to audio, which is called registration. Each shot of the film will correspond to a subtitle.


The translator's work is usually done at this point rather to understand the context of each sentence and to be able to make a correct adaptation in the desired language. In the cinema, for a film, there is usually one translator per language.

The synchronization check


Verification of tracking, the final process before publication . When all the data is retrieved, then the timing must be checked. That is to say the synchronization of the subtitles to the image. Usually the time data found during tracking is good and the synchronization to the lyrics is correct. Sometimes there may be a few glitches, in this case, you have to modify the time data (aka time code). This step is crucial to avoid bad subtitling and a good follow-up of the story by the spectators.


Sometimes a last step called 'Printing' is added. This step consists of inlaying subtitles on the video. There are two schools for this: 'open caption' or 'closed caption'.


Open Caption: subtitles are directly embedded in the video. This is often the technique used for videos for social networks because they are self-playing. The subtitles allow to catch the eye of the user.


Closed Caption: Subtitles are linked to an external file such as an .SRT file. This is the technique that Netflix or Youtube use: the user can enable or disable subtitles at any time. The user can also generally choose the language of the subtitles. This technique makes its content accessible to as many people as possible.


The impression depends on the individual according to the objectives set.


Why subtitle?


In cinema, films are rather dubbed in France. However, subtitling is found in some films broadcast in OV, generally in independent theatres. On TV or on a streaming platform (Netflix, YouTube...), subtitling is omnipresent. Sometimes you also need it for films you have downloaded. Here are the best advantages of subtitling: 


  • Subtitles under VO content can allow you to learn a new language. Thank you for the translation!


  • Subtitling a content allows to keep the VO version and avoid dubbing (sometimes atrocious)


  • Subtitles make video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.


  • Lyrics are sometimes subtitled and this can teach you a little bit more about a music.


  • Subtitles promote assimilation, thanks to them, the story of a movie, for example, is more easily understandable (who knows, maybe with subtitles instead of dubbing, the last Nolan would have had no secrets for you).

But you may not be Netflix or your videos may not be dedicated to television, but subtitling is still an essential step. Whether it's for a replay conference video, content marketing, advertising or any other video, there are plenty of good reasons to start captioning them. Here are a few of them:


  • In France, there are nearly 6 million deaf and hard of hearing people. Subtitling makes its video content accessible to all. Digital accessibility is a fundamental right.


  • To reach a larger but also international audience thanks to the translation of subtitles (with Capté, becoming a translator has never been so easy)


  • To improve the user experience and also to catch the eye on your videos


  • To increase the engagement under your videos: likes, comments...


  • For SEO: to be better referenced on search engines, algorithms need information in text form to understand the subject of audio content and identify keywords.


  • To counter autoplay: social networks use autoplay, i.e. videos are automatically launched when the user scrolls through his feed. To boost the viewing performance of your video, it is advisable to add subtitles. This way, the user can view your video without worries in silent mode. In fact, more and more commercials are being subtitled.


What is the .SRT file? 


Using a .SRT file can be useful when you want "Closed captioning" i.e. subtitles that can be turned on and off by the user at any time during viewing. The .SRT file is a subtitle file composed of the text and its time code. With this file, you can integrate your subtitles into your videos yourself. You can also use multiple .SRT files in different languages so users can select the language they need to understand your video. This is the most common format.


The .SRT file is not the only existing subtitle file. There are also stl, .txt, .rtf, .xml, .asc, .scc, and .mxf files. The best known formats are the srt, sub, ssa and txt. 

What are the best French sites to use for subtitling?

There are a multitude of sites to find French subtitles for your films or to subtitle your videos. It's hard to find your way around. So we offer you a tested and adopted site for every need.

Opensubtitles for subtitles of films and series


Finding French subtitles for your favourite series is not always easy. The Opensubtiles site allows you to find the subtitles you need to understand your movie. Then, on a streaming platform or on the player of your movie (example: VLC), you manage the subtitle overlay yourself. And there you have it, you can watch your movie in total peace of mind!

Captured to subtitle your video content


Capté is an online application that simplifies French subtitling for you. The user is at the centre of this service. The editor is designed to be simple and intuitive so that it is accessible to everyone. Subtitling is done automatically thanks to a voice recognition system. The user can then edit the subtitles thanks to the editor which works like a Word document or Google Docs. And finally, the user can upload the video with subtitles or the .SRT file. Thanks to this service, you save precious minutes, Captured is a real time saver. You doubt it? Feel free to take the test and you will see. 


Here's how to subtitle your video with Captured in just a few steps:

  1. Create a profile by registering on capté.fr: from his profile, the user has access to all the videos edited
  2. Upload a video
  3. Speech recognition translates the words into subtitles.
  4. Editing subtitles: rereading text, changing errors...
  5. Stylize subtitles: background color, text color, typography...there is even the possibility to create a custom style and save it to have it the next time.
  6. Export the video with subtitles or the .SRT file


Tip: Avoid music for better vocal performance.


Top 10 tips for adding subtitles to a video


First of all, when you write subtitles, it is a transcription. Indeed, most of the time you will make slight modifications to the lyrics to adapt them into text. So, first of all, we advise you to equip yourself with a dictionary that will allow you to find synonyms easily if you need to or just to spell certain terms correctly. Secondly, subtitling is quite an art, it has its own rules and they are even more specific when subtitling teletext. The rules are made in relation to CPS (Characters per seconds) and CPL (Characters per lines). For example, an average of 13 characters per second is read, so the subtitle must be displayed long enough to be readable.


So without further ado, here's our top 10 tips for good subtitling:

  1. Subtitles must be on a maximum of 2 lines.
  2. They consist of a minimum of 3 characters per line and a maximum of 35 to 40 characters.
  3. For a subtitle written on two lines, a maximum of 70 characters is recommended. 
  4. A subtitle has a minimum of 1s
  5. One subtitle at a maximum of 10s display time
  6. The subtitle starts 50 to 200 ms before the word is spoken, never after.
  7. If the text is on two lines, try to have the first line shorter than the second (pyramid).
  8. Make sure that the subtitles are readable at any time during the video, you can add a background to the subtitles.
  9. Lhe subtitles do not overlap.
  10. Prefer a sans serif font for legibility: on screens, letters without serifs are more pleasing to the eye.

Our good advice at the end: Always proofread to avoid typos and other mistakes...


Top 10 Best Reasons to Use Captured


Wondering why you choose Captured to subtitle? Let's review.


  1. Time savings: with Capté, you save time by avoiding manual subtitling and even the translation is automated.
  2. Performance: Time savings mean productivity, and with Captured, you can be more productive on subtitling and devote yourself to other tasks because we know that every minute counts.
  3. Money saving: you do the work of transcriber and translator yourself, which means a few less budget costs for you 
  4. Ease: Creating subtitles has never been easier with the automation of the process. What's more, the subtitle editor is designed to be intuitive for each user. Subtitling becomes child's play.
  5. Automation: subtitling with Captured is also easy because the process is automated. Transcription, tracking and synchronization are done automatically. You don't have to worry about it, you just have to proofread what has been transcribed.
  6. Translation: there is a small chance that you are a professional translator, with Capté you can become a translator in the blink of an eye. The translation of your subtitles is done automatically. 5 languages are available: English, Italian, Spanish, German and Simplified Chinese.
  7. The style: make subtitles to your image thanks to the style tab of the editor. Create a unique style and save your custom style to find it the next time on your profile.
  8. Open or Closed Caption, you choose: you can upload your video with subtitles or the .SRT file.
  9. The best in French speech recognition and free of charge: there are many sites on the market for subtitling, but most of them are Anglo-Saxon or paying sites. Capté is a French tool so speech recognition is more accurate with French audio recordings. Capté is also free: for free subtitling, there will be a Capté watermark.
  10. Subscriptions with an unlimited number of videos: Capté proposes 3 offers to meet your needs as precisely as possible. You can use the tool for free but a 'Captured' watermark will be displayed on your video. You can remove it thanks to a standard subscription for 19€ / month or a premium subscription for 49€ / month. The premium subscription allows you to automatically translate your subtitles.


So don't wait any longer to translate your content marketing or social network ads and test Captured. We're sure that its simplicity will make you adopt it. Captured is even available on different devices such as tablets or mobile devices.