Universal Subtitles Makes Adding Captions Easy

Perhaps you’d like to add captions to your company’s videos, but you don’t know how to start. Doing it with your video editing software is tedious and captioning programs sounds cost-prohibitive.

Well, now there’s a solution that’s both easy and free. A nonprofit called the Participatory Culture Foundation has just released a simple online tool called Universal Subtitles. It works with Flash, WebM, and Ogg format videos stored on YouTube,, Vimeo, or Dailymotion. Start by inputting the URL of your video. You’ll then need to watch the video and input the text through the browser interface. No, this tool doesn’t automatically create a script for you.

When you’ve input all the text, the tool guides you through the process of synching the written and on-screen dialogue. It’s a simple matter of clicking at the right moments to show a new line of text.

When you’re done, you get an embed code so you can display the captioned version of the video. Captions can be easily turned on or off. The original copy of the video is still hosted with YouTube or whichever site you’re using; the embed code just adds a text overlay.

The process of creating captions with Universal Subtitles can be a group effort. Viewers can add their own translations to captioned videos, or correct mistakes. They’ll need to watch a tutorial video first, though, telling them how to use Universal Subtitles.

Visit the Universal Subtitles site to learn more or to begin a captioning project.


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