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How to Create Subtitles for a Film or Series…For Free

Subtitles are an extremely powerful tool that not only increases accessibility support but also, expands your work to new audiences who might better understand your work with captions or subtitles in another language.

Creating Subtitles Using YouTube (Free Method)

Using YouTube to generate subtitle files?!! Some may call us crazy, but it works well and it’s free!

To get started, upload your film or series to YouTube Studio as a private video (this way the public can’t see it since you’re only using YouTube to generate your subtitles). Then, you can use YouTube Studio’s built-in subtitling tool to add subtitles to your film timed to the action and dialogue. Once you are finished, YouTube Studio allows you to download your subtitle file as an SBV file.

Alert: YouTube does offer an “Auto-Caption” option, but it is often quite inaccurate in our experience. If you choose to use the Auto-Caption feature, just remember that you should manually review the subtitles before exporting to check for spelling errors, grammatical errors (ie: their/they’re/there), and errors where the system thought one word was another due to accents, stylization or diction reasons (ie: “There she goes” may be captioned as “There she goats” and so on).

Note: Fearless doesn’t accept SBV files, but luckily, you can easily convert your subtitles to VTT format using this online tool for free.

Translating Subtitles (Free Method)

If you already have an SRT or VTT file of your subtitles, you can translate them online using a tool like substranslator.com. Upload your subtitle file and choose which language you’d like to convert the subtitles into and the system will automatically translate it for you and then you can download the subtitle file in the new language.

Note: This tool uses Google Translate to convert your subtitles, so it’s not perfect and it may make errors, especially when it comes to things like slang, figures of speech, and sayings. We recommend that you have a native speaker of the language review your outputted subtitle file to fix any errors the converter may have made and to optimize for vernacular better suited to the context and tone of your film or series. But…even if you pay someone to review your subtitles, it will cost a lot less than if you paid them to translate every line of your film manually from scratch so it can be a great jumping off point.

Hiring an Expert

Free tools require work and time from you in order to work well. If you have the time and dedication to put into it, then the tools above can be beneficial. However, if you have the budget to afford a professional, it can certainly up your game and free up your time. We strongly suggest hiring an expert to help if you are able to.

Some potential matches for you may include:

Pro-Tip: Consider Dubbing too!

Want to extend your audience even further? Consider adding dubbing into the mix to get your content into new languages.

Our friends at B-Sounds do a great job if you’re looking for dubbing in Spanish.

Disclaimer: We do not receive commission or revenue for recommending any products or services on this page. We are offering these suggestions simply as a courtesy to help you out and are not responsible for the outcomes of any of them. Always do your research and look out for scams as well.

Updated on January 18, 2022

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