Free video subtitling

Content Marketing: How to subtitle your videos quickly and for free…

If you handle marketing campaigns across various countries, content localization is critical, when the asset is relevant for your audience. You can access the English Proficiency Index by country here.  This is a good place to start – to see if a campaign will resonate with your audience in English.

All told, localization has the potential to be a really expensive budget line item – but in this post I’m going to share some tips to help you avoid overspending on subtitling and dubbing production costs.  Read on, follow the advice and trust me – I’ll save you time and money.

I will describe how to subtitle on YouTube for online-only content but I will also show you how to hard-code your subtitle on videos for off-line use cases like trade-show demos, etc.

1 – Subtitling directly in YouTube



  • Once you uploaded your file in YouTube, go to Creator Studio => Video Manager to access the video you uploaded (allow YouTube some time to make the video transcription available).




  • Extract the .srt file from the video: arrow near the video => subtitles & CC => select the automatic caption => edit if needed => action => download .srt file.




  • Now that you have the .srt file, you just need to send it for localization directly in the file – you can change the text using a software package like Notepad or Notepad++.
  •  Once the file is ready in the localized version, go back to YouTube Subtitles & CC section => select add new subtitles or CC => select the target language => upload your localized file => verify = > publish.


You’re done! Can you believe some agencies charge in the region of $1K for this service without even providing the localization service itself?

2 – Hard-code subtitles onto video files

Just start with the exact same steps I showed earlier until you export the .srt file from YouTube. Then, once you’ve localized your .srt file:

  • Download HandBrake here (for Windows only – I’m pretty sure there are plenty of similar applications for other operating systems) – this one is free!
  • Name your subtitle file and video file the same way.
  • Open Handbrake – select the video = > select the subtitles = > select burn in => select destination file (name your subtitled video) and then press Start.


That’s it – the software is now embedding the subtitles and you’ll see something like this:

You can now post your video with hard-coded subtitles :).

Hope you’ll find this tutorial useful. And you, how do you subtitle your videos? Drop me a line and let me know…

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