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Video Editing Programs: Subtitles/Transcription

Basic essential training for the video editing programs the Trible Library Media Center supports.

Subtitles for Video


Subtitles can be necessary for opening up your content for those that are visually impaired as well as those speaking other languages.  Adobe Premiere Pro has a subtitling feature and titling in iMovie can be a quick fix for short videos.

Subtitles consist of and .srt file and are the subtitle files that are separate from video in an overlaid track.  The .srt file is usually titled after the language it is written in (i.e., but can be shorted sometimes.  There are two sites we recommend for establishing an .srt file from scratch. See the links below.

ADA Chart Tips


YouTube automatically generates .srt/.vtt/.sbv subtitle files.  You can find these under YouTube Studio in Video Details and Subtitles.  Once there, you can hover and click on the dots under the Subtitles column and then on Edit (on the right-hand side and download the file).  

Once downloaded, the .srt file from YouTube can be uploaded to this site:

where it can translate the subtitles and generates another .srt files you can then upload.  The site will also do multiple languages at once.  The service uses Google Translate and the uploaded file matches the timing of the original file.  



Create ADA-Compliant Video Captions

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti discrimination statute designed to ensure equal access to opportunities and benefits for qualified individuals with disabilities. In many state, government, and education institutions, videos must include ADA compliant captions.

ADA Compliancy Tips

The following are best practices for ADA compliant captions:

  • One to three lines of text appear on screen all at once, stay there for three to seven seconds, and are then replaced by another caption.
  • Timed to synchronize with the audio.
  • Do not cover up graphics and other essential visual elements of the picture.
  • Require the use of upper and lowercase letters.
  • Use a font similar to Helvetica medium.
  • Have good resolution.
  • Include not more than 32-characters-per-line.
  • To check for compliancy, select the Captions options drop down > Show non-compliant duration. This option highlights any captions in red whose duration is not between three and seven seconds.
  • Captions should be synchronized and appear at approximately the same time as the audio.
  • Words should be verbatim when time allows or as close as possible in other situations.
  • Captions should be accessible and readily available to those who need or want them.
  • Add music or other descriptions inside square brackets such as [music] or [laughter].
  • Captions should appear on screen long enough to be read.
  • It is preferable to limit on screen captions to no more than three lines.
  • Speakers should be identified when more than one person is onscreen or when the speaker is not visible.
  • Punctuation is used to clarify meaning.
  • Spelling is correct throughout the production.
  • Write out sound effects when they add to understanding.
  • All words are captioned, regardless of language or dialect.
  • Use of slang and accent is preserved and identified.
  • Use italics when a new word is being defined or a word is heavily emphasized in speech.

(ADA Compliant Caption Tips, TechSmith Support Camtasia Help)

To learn more about ADA and video accessibility, download the brief by 3PlayMedia: How the ADA Impacts Online Video Accessibility published by 3PlayMedia and/or read the article The ADA and Online Video Captioning Standards on their website.

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