If you don’t know how to create subtitles for videos on Facebook, then you’re basically me from about an hour or so ago. Chances are you’ve probably already spent an unfunny amount of time thinking:
- …if you really need to do the subtitle thing for Facebook at all. (You do… sorry.)
- …why you even created this video in the first place. GAH!
- …how quickly you can pretend none of this ever happened.
Look, I know your pain. Video is one of the most powerful mediums in content marketing because it shows your audience a new, human side of you! THIS IS A GOOD THING.
THE SIDE EFFECT:
You’re feeling pretty vulnerable about your video as it is. You were so fixated on fixing your hair. The absolute last thing you thought you’d to worry about are subtitles.
HERE’S THE RUB, REBECCA*:
Your video fall flat on its face if you share it on Facebook and you don’t have subtitles. The truth of the matter is that people scroll through feeds and sometimes watch entire videos with the sound turned off.
Not having subtitles would be like giving your office bully the day off and putting a Kick Me sign on your back anyway. (Yes, this is the same thing.)
Facebook requires something called an SRT file for uploading your captions alongside your video. The steps below will help you create this file. No need to be a programmer or rocket scientist – these steps are EASY.
Funny enough, even though you need the subtitles more for Facebook, the easiest way to generate captions is using YouTube because they automate all or part of the process. Follow the steps below and you’ll see what I mean.
Step 1: Go to YouTube and login.
Step 2: After you login to YouTube, upload your video.
Set the privacy to “Unlisted” if you wanna keep it hidden while you’re working on your subtitles – or if you prefer to not store your video on YouTube for anyone’s eyes.
Step 3: If you’ll also be adding this video to your YouTube channel in addition to Facebook, you’ll want to fill in all the blanks you see above (title, description, tags, playlist.)
If you like custom thumbnails, you can set that up in Step 5.
Step 4: After your video uploads, go to the link YouTube generates for you. Click the pencil icon below your video. It’s the first icon from the left (see screenshot below.) This will take you to Info & Settings.
(You’re almost to the subtitle section!)
The example below is actually a podcast episode I converted to get more visibility on YouTube. If you want to check out the episode, click here.
Step 5: If you will be adding this video to your channel on YouTube, you want to set a custom thumbnail. Do that using the Custom Thumbnail button. Note the thumbnail should be a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you’re ready for subtitles, click where it says, “Subtitles/CC,” to proceed.
Step 6: Set your video language per the little popup that will appear. You can default this for future videos by checking the box. Hit Set language.
Step 8: Choose one of the 2 options described below. I recommend Option B (especially for shorter videos) but would like to explain both to you.
OPTION A – Automate your subtitles. If you choose this option, you’re pretty much done and can skip to step 10.
You can accept the automatic subtitles YouTube generates for your video (based on voice-recognition) by clicking English (Automatic). This is ideal if you…
- have no time.
- if your video is too long for you to write subtitles yourself.
- if you’re totally okay with errors.
If you choose this option, select English (Automatic.)
If you hit the “Edit” button, you can go through and correct errors, but I feel like this takes forever. Up to you!
Then, select Actions > Download .srt.
The .srt file is the subtitle file you’ll need for getting the captions on Facebook.
OPTION B – Write your own subtitles. If you choose this option, proceed to step 9 after completing the brief tasks below.
I actually recommend writing your own subtitles if your video is short-form content since it won’t take you super long and it will present much better when people are actually watching your video.
To do this, click on the Add new subtitles or CC blue button and then select your language (English.)
Step 9: Click Transcribe and Auto-sync. The auto-syncing is why you’re doing this using YouTube because it will save you a Titanic amount of time.
This is the part where you have to do a little work. I know, I know. I’M SORRY, OKAY?
Write everything that is said in your video in the box provided. As you type, YouTube will hold your place and pause the video as you type so you don’t have to type like the Flash.
After you’re done typing everything that is said, click Set timings.
You’ll notice that YouTube refreshes the screen and shows you your draft being synced. This can take a few minutes depending how long the video is. Be patient. Refresh your screen in a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to see the finalized, captioned version of your video.
When it’s done, you’ll be able to click your draft where it says English (setting timings…).
Hit play on your video to watch your subtitles in action! This part AMAZED me because YouTube swiftly placed the words in the correct places.
If you’re happy with this, hit Actions > Download and an .sbv file will be downloaded to your computer.
Of course, Facebook requires a .srt file. To convert this to the correct file type, visit captionsconverter.com. Upload your .sbv file. Select .srt as the output type. Hit convert.
Step 10: You have an SRT file! Go to wherever it is saved on your computer and make sure the file ends in .en_US.srt instead of just .srt. So if your file is something like video.srt, you want to rename it on your computer to be video.en_US.srt and then you’re good to go.
Step 11: At this point, go upload your video to Facebook. I recommend setting your custom thumbnail here as well.
Step 11: Click Captions and then Upload SRT File.
Upload the file you just renamed to be video.en_US.srt and select the language (English.)
Step 12: Hit Publish and you’re done!
Yay! You did it! Promote the crap out of it and write a snappy caption to go with your swanky new video. So proud of you for getting to this step. Great work!
*Wouldn’t it be weird if you happened to be named Rebecca? You’d be like – oh wow – how did Liz do that? But the truth is that it’s a coincidence. I didn’t do anything especially genius to get my website to know your name. YET.
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