If you're wondering if adding subtitles to a video online for free is possible, the answer is YES. There are several ways to do that, but we must warn you - they are not all good.

Here's how to add subtitles to a video for free (and why you should do it).

Table of Content
    1. Add Subtitles to Video for Free Using YouTube Studio
    2. Add Captions to Video for Free Using TikTok
    3. Add Subtitles to Video Online for Free Using Adobe Express
    4. Add Subtitles to Video Online for Free Using Animaker

How Free Online Subtitle Generators Work

There are two ways to add subtitles to your videos - with video editing software in post-production or using a free online subtitle generator. Many content creators choose the latter for both speed and convenience. You would probably want to do the same if your videos are DIY.

How do these subtitle generators work? As you might know, you can find them on some social media platforms and media hosting sites, such as YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, etc.

Online subtitle generators rely on artificial intelligence to write subtitles "by ear.” AI will listen to your video and convert speech to text - it's as simple as that. AI's ability to understand human language and recognize speech patterns comes from natural language processing (NLP).

speech to text generator

Technically, the process of generating text from speech will produce captions. Captions are written in the same language as the audio in the recording. If you want subtitles in other languages, AI will transcribe the audio and translate it into your chosen foreign language.

Some online subtitle generators will "glue” subtitles to a video, while others will let you download them as a separate file with text and time stamps. You can then upload this file with your video to a hosting site, thus giving your viewers the option to turn it on or off.

How To Add Subtitles to Videos Online for Free

The easiest way to include subtitles and add captions to a video for free is by using your hosting site's native solution. For example, if you post your videos on YouTube, you can use a built-in speech-to-text generator. Alternatively, you can use tools like Adobe or Animaker.

Way 1. Add Subtitles to Video for Free Using YouTube Studio

If you have your own YouTube channel, you probably use YouTube Studio to manage it. If you didn't know this, that's all you need to add subtitles to your YouTube videos.

Here's how:

  1. Go to your YouTube Studio and click on Videos. Select the video you want to add subtitles to.
    select videos for captioning in youtube studio
  2. You'll find the Subtitles tab on your right. Click on it to launch YouTube Studio Subtitles Editor.
  3. YouTube's AI will automatically generate captions from the audio recording. You can see it in the window on the left, along with time stamps. If you want to give it a polish, click on Edit.
    edit automatic captions in youtube studio
  4. The Edit option allows you to add punctuation or fix mistakes if there are any. This process is the same as editing any text file. If you need to hear the corresponding audio, play the video.
  5. Auto-generated subtitles sometimes go faster or slower than the audio. If so, you can easily adjust timestamps in the audio bar below with your mouse.
    adjust automatic captions in youtube studio
  6. At the end, click Save Draft in the top-right corner and wait a few hours for changes to apply.
    save automatic captions in youtube studio

Way 2. Add Captions to Video for Free Using TikTok

TikTok is another popular platform that offers a native online subtitle generator. Like on YouTube, you can edit auto-generated captions before posting a video and let your viewers decide whether or not they want to keep closed captions on. Here's how to use TikTok captions:

  1. As you're uploading a new video, you will see a Captions button on the right side of your screen. To add auto-generated captions, you only need to tap on it.
    caption a video on tiktok
  2. Once the app is done generating and uploading captions, you can click on the Pen icon on the right to edit the text.
    adjust automatic captions on tiktok
  3. When you're satisfied with your captions, simply tap on Save.
    edit automatic captions on tiktok

Way 3. Add Subtitles to Video Online for Free Using Adobe Express

Adobe Express is a user-friendly design tool aimed at non-professionals that offers numerous options and templates for video editing, specifically for creators who post on social media and other hosting sites. You can download the app (there's a free trial) or add captions online.

The online version allows you to choose font styles and customize colors, which is excellent for branding. Adobe Express "bakes” your subtitles, and you download your entire video with captions. You can also get the app and continue editing the video and subtitles there.

Here's how to add subtitles to your video online for free with Adobe Express:

  1. Go to the Adobe Express Add Caption online page and click on Upload your video.
    upload your video to adobe express
  2. Drag and drop your video or find it on your PC. Remember that there's a cap - the uploaded video file can't be bigger than 1 GB or longer than 5 minutes. Specify which language is spoken in the video for better precision.
    drag and drop a video to adobe express
  3. Hang tight while Adobe Express captions your video.
    caption a video in adobe express
  4. When captions are in, you can edit text, choose a style, and customize colors.
    customize video captions in adobe express
  5. Click Download to get your captioned video, or Open in Adobe Express to download the app and continue editing.
    download captioned video with adobe express

Way 4. Add Subtitles to Video Online for Free Using Animaker

Animaker is an online AI animation generator and video maker that you can use to add captions and subtitles to your videos. Compared to Adobe Express and other similar tools, it offers several options for added convenience and style customization, like Subtitle Animation.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to remove the Animaker watermark from your video unless you subscribe to one of the premium plans, starting at $12.5 per month.

Here's how to add captions to a video online for free with Animaker:

  1. Go to the official Animaker web page and click Start Now. Sign in using your Google or Facebook account or create a brand new Animaker account.
    start using animaker for free
  2. Drag and drop your video file or click on Upload your file to add it to Animaker.
    upload your video file to animaker
  3. Wait for Animaker to upload and process your video. That could take several minutes.
    process video file in animaker
  4. Choose between three modes - Auto Generate Subtitles, Manually Write Subtitles, or Upload Subtitles.
    choose subtitle generation method in animaker
  5. You can edit, delete, and merge text on the left. You can use your mouse to find the corresponding timestamp in the video bar below. Animaker also allows you to choose different fonts in the Style tap in the sidebar on the left.
    edit subtitles in animaker
  6. There's also an option to Translate subtitles to 100+ languages, but that's locked behind a paywall.
    upgrade to use foreign subtitles in animaker
  7. After clicking the Download button on the top right, you can choose to Download Video or Download Subtitle File.
    download captioned video with animaker

The Downsides of Adding Subtitles to a Video Online for Free

Earlier, we said that not all free methods for adding subtitles to videos online are good. Why do you think that is? If you've ever used any free online subtitle generator, including the ones this article recommends, you should probably know what we are hinting at by this.

When it comes to online tools, nothing is ever really free. Online subtitle generators offering free services usually come with a catch. Auto-generated captions on YouTube and TikTok are rarely without mistakes, and you must spend a lot of time editing them.

Even better, free online subtitle generators like Adobe Express and Animaker have their limitations. Adobe Express doesn't caption large videos, while Animaker doesn't let you remove the watermark. In almost all of these solutions, subtitles in foreign languages are off-limits.

Best Alternative for Adding Subtitles to Videos for Free - Wondershare DemoCreator

If you want more followers, you must start adding subtitles to your videos - ideally, for free. While there are solutions that can help you caption videos without spending any money, they may do more harm than good. Bad subtitles might frustrate and alienate viewers.

You need a professional subtitle generator like Wondershare DemoCreator if you want professional-looking videos. This tool uses a sophisticated AI algorithm to transcribe speech to captions and gives you the tools to customize them. It supports subtitles in 90+ different languages.

Wondershare DemoCreator
  • Manually add subtitles to video or automatically generate subtitles from video in 90+ languages with a 99% accuracy rate.
  • Customize every aspect of the captions and subtitles, including the font, color, position, styling, and effects.
  • Access over 12,000 trendy caption templates, allowing your imagination to run wild when customizing your captions.
recoverit boxrecoverit logo

Here's a quick guide for adding subtitles to your videos with this offline auto subtitle generator software:

Free Download
Free Download

Conclusion

When you need to add subtitles to your videos but you're already running on a tight budget, there are several ways you can do that for free. Some of the best zero-cost online subtitle generators are YouTube Studio, TikTok's automatic captions, Adobe Express, and Animaker.

For a more professional (but just as user-friendly) approach to video content and subtitle creation, try Wondershare DemoCreator's auto caption tool with 90+ languages.

FAQs

  • What is the easiest option for adding subtitles to a video online for free?
    The easiest way to add subtitles to your videos online for free is by using automatic caption features in YouTube Studio and while posting videos on TikTok. If you publish on other social media and hosting sites, you can use online video editing tools like Adobe Express and Animaker.
  • Are there any completely free online tools for adding subtitles to videos?
    Yes, there are several online tools for adding subtitles to videos that are entirely free. The best examples include Adobe Express and Animaker. However, all free web-based solutions for captioning videos include a catch, like a file size limitation or watermark, or they require heavy editing.
  • Is it possible to add subtitles to videos online for free without watermarks?
    It is possible to add subtitles to videos online for free without watermarks. Some free online subtitle generators, such as Adobe Express, for example, allow users to download captioned videos without a watermark, but there's usually a video duration limit or a certain level of quality reduction.
Oliva Eve
Oliva Eve Mar 28, 24
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