How to Translate Subtitles into Different Languages

15 mins read

Subtitle translation with Crowdin

Most of the videos use subtitles now. A research found that adding subtitles to a video made it 80% more likely to be watched. Translating subtitles into several languages is a great way to reach even more people with your video, webinar, or podcast.

So, let’s learn more about subtitle translation, how Crowdin can be part of your strategy for localization, and how to start your next international subtitling project.

Benefits of Translating Subtitles

Verizon Media found that 80% of people are more likely to watch a video when subtitles or closed captions are available.

We think the English subtitles are a great start, but you shouldn’t stop there. With foreign language subtitles, your content can reach even more people.

Here’s why you should consider languages other than English when subtitling your multimedia:

A Bigger Target Audience

By making your video content available in different languages, you can reach more people worldwide with your brand.

Better SEO

Many search engines give videos that are easy to find and are relevant to a specific area higher rankings on their search results pages. This brings your content to the attention of more people.

Improve the user experience

About 69% of people prefer to watch videos in public places without sound. Subtitles have been shown to improve the user experience and make people watch for longer on average.

Cost Savings

Since you don’t have to hire voice talent for subtitling, it’s cheaper than dubbing or doing voiceovers. It’s a cheap way to talk to people worldwide in their own language.

Learn how to reach new markets by translating subtitles in more than one language.

Which Types of Content Need Subtitles?

Video subtitle translation or localization is no longer just for big media companies like Netflix or Disney. Localization of subtitles is used by marketing content, and growth teams that want to move into new markets or reach wider audiences.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of videos you might have available for subtitling.

  • Marketing videos
  • Tutorials
  • Training videos
  • Webinars and product demos
  • Support videos
  • Explainer videos
  • Customer interviews

What to Look for When Translating Subtitles

There are a few different things to keep in mind when translating subtitles, which are different from other types of text.

Adaptation of the Text

When translating from English to Spanish, for example, the text can grow by 20–25%, while translating from English to Swedish can grow by up to 35%. So, it’s important to be brief while keeping the original text’s meaning.

Length and Spacing

The rule is to have no more than two lines on the screen at once, or if possible, just one. This way, viewers can see the visual content but don’t have to read too much.

The number of characters on each line depends on the language. But many say to keep the number of characters per line to about 35 in most languages and 16 in East Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


It’s also essential to ensure the timing is right. Your subtitle should show up when the person talking starts, and it should stop showing up soon after the person stops talking. About 2 seconds per line of text is a rough estimate, but this can be changed or lowered after testing. An auto-subtitling tool will time the text to the speech, so you’ll only have to review if everything is timed correctly. Doing this manually might be a bit too time-consuming.

Choose a Language Your Customers Speak

Don’t know how to start with subtitles? There are a few languages that numerous people around the world speak. Start by adding subtitles in English, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, French, or German, some of the world’s most spoken languages.

How to Automate Subtitle Translation with Crowdin

Many subtitle translation editors allow you to work with one language perfectly. But as soon as you need more languages, you should consider using Crowdin to automate the whole process and ensure that translations are of good quality.

Connect Crowdin with Your Subtitling Tool

Learn how to localize Wistia subtitles with Crowdin in a simple way with the help of video below:

Introducing Convenient Subtitle Creation Apps for Seamless Translation

If your video doesn’t have any subtitles, it’s not an issue anymore. With our new apps you can create subtitles from your video and then translate them. No need to use a separate tool for creating subtitles.

Please meet our user-friendly applications for captions generation.

These innovative apps enable you to generate subtitles for your media files, including formats like mp3, mp4, wav, ogg, webm, and many more. Once you generate subtitles you can add them to your Crowdin project for translation.

SRT File Translation Support

The best way to add subtitles to a video is to put them in a plain text file separate from the video. Subtitle file formats like SubRip (.srt) have information about the subtitles, including the start and end time codes of the text, so that your subtitles match your audio. Video hosting sites like Wistia, Vimeo, and YouTube widely accept this format.

Here’s an example of an SRT file in English:


00:00:00,130 --> 00:00:00,750

Hey everyone!



00:00:00,860 --> 00:00:02,622

In this short video, I want to show you



00:00:02,636 --> 00:00:06,730

how you can translate your Hygraph content with Crowdin.



00:00:06,850 --> 00:00:09,606

So the first thing you want to do is

Go to the marketplace and find a connector.

Benefits of Subtitles Translation with Crowdin

When you have a lot of subtitles to translate, you’ll need a tool to help your workflow. With Crowdin, you can assign tasks, create chains of tasks, and automate rules. By speeding up tasks that you often do and streamlining your localization efforts, you’ll get to market much faster.

Captions Localization with Crowdin

There’s no need to invite your translation team to the video hosting or editing tool you use. Each Crowdin paid account includes an unlimited number of translators, so they can do their job right in the translation editor in Crowdin with all the context and productivity features they need.

Choose Who Will Be Making Translations: Hire Qualified Translators

The two most common methods for subtitle translation include using machine translation only or machine translation plus human post-editing. The latter allows for ensuring the subtitles are appropriately timed to the video, and that everything sounds natural.

If you want top-notch quality, you can hire a native speaker to translate your captions or subtitles for projects that will get a lot of attention. With their knowledge of the local culture, you can ensure that all of your content’s parts work well in a different culture.

Streamlining Subtitles Translation: Use Integrations with Top Machine Translation Engines

Crowdin, as a localization management platform, integrates with popular machine translation engines that you can use for translating subtitles. Here are some of the MT engines that Crowdin supports:

Check out more apps that connect Crowdin with machine translation engines.

It is important to note that while Crowdin supports integration with these machine translation services, users need to have their accounts and API keys for each service.

By integrating with these popular machine translation services, Crowdin enables you to take advantage of translation technology and streamline the localization process for your content.

How MT pre-translation works

To set up MT pre-translation, you should upload a file to Crowdin or add it through integration with a video hosting tool– the texts will appear in Crowdin and are automatically translated by the connected MT engine if you set up an automation workflow. Workflow automation will run pre-translation whenever you add new files to your project. Alternatively - you can run pre-translation manually by selecting the needed MT, target languages, and file. Then, you can apply MT post-editing to the files translated by MT or synchronize these texts to the tool you connected with Crowdin.

You can connect one of the default Machine Translation engines to your project or install additional ones as apps from Crowdin Store.

To set up MT pre-translations, you should upload a file to Crowdin or add it through integration with a video hosting tool - the texts will appear in Crowdin, and the connected MT engine will translate them. Then, you can apply MT post-editing to them or synchronize these texts to the right tool.

The Importance of MT Post-Editing

Users can perform MT post-editing., which enhances translation quality and ensures accurate and contextually appropriate subtitles. While machine translation is a valuable tool for speeding up the translation process, post-editing by human translators is crucial for maintaining translation quality. For example, it allows for correcting common mistakes or mistranslations of brand terms.

Translators can easily access and review machine-translated subtitles through the platform’s intuitive interface. They have the flexibility to correct any inaccuracies, adjust linguistic nuances, and ensure that the translated content aligns with the intended message. In addition, MT post-editing in Crowdin streamlines the overall localization workflow, leveraging the strengths of both machine translation and human expertise.

The Context for Translators

Translators can preview the video they are translating next to the translation area. You can put the link into the preview video app and see a preview of the video right away. You can put the link into the preview video app and see a preview of the video right away. Furthermore, you can put the link into the preview video app and see a preview of the video right away. No need to switch between tabs.

The video preview

Glossary and a Translation Memory

Create and share a glossary (also called a termbase) to make sure that industry-specific terms are used consistently throughout your project. You can also use the glossary across multiple projects and with multiple people.

Using translation memory will also help your translators, so they don’t have to translate the same things repeatedly and can keep things consistent throughout the project.

Built-in Translation Services

Need to translate a few videos but don’t want to hire or outsource a whole team? Choose one of our translation services, which also offer bilingual editing and proofreading.

Good Quality Assurance

Our quality assurance features make sure you don’t miss those annoying grammar and spelling mistakes, and you can automate everything for an even faster turnaround.

Translate Subtitles to Reach a Wider Audience with Your Content

Subtitles are a useful option that can help you reach a larger audience with your videos. This goes a step further with subtitle translation, which lets you reach people who speak other languages. Good subtitle translations can help make your video content accessible to everyone if they are done with the help of Crowdin’s integrations.

Use Crowdin’s apps to localize your video subtitles.

Try Crowdin.
Julia Herasymchuk

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