Subtitles are an important part of any video file and to play them with ease it is important to have a thorough knowledge of the same. The article below discusses the need for subtitles, types of subtitles, tools to add and edit them, and other related aspects.

The Complete Guide for Beginners to Play Subtitles with Ease

Part 1. Subtitle Types

Majorly, subtitles can be defined as hard subtitles and soft subtitles in a video file.

Hard Subtitles: These subtitles are the part of the video file itself. Being the part of the video images, hard subtitles cannot be disabled, edited or turned off. Also known as hard subs or open subtitles, these are merged into the original video, no additional equipment or software is required for their playback.

Soft Subtitles: These subtitles can be defined as the independent stream which is originally not the part of the video file. Soft subtitles can be turned off or disabled when needed. Also known as soft subs or closed subtitles, these are separate instructions which come with a text and a time stamp for playback. The video player needs to decode and render the captions for the videos in case of soft subtitles and thus extra system power is required. Additionally, soft subtitles can be edited and the font, as well as its language, can be changed as desired.

There is also another categorization of subtitles where they are defined as internal subtitles and external subtitles. The internal subtitles are the ones which are included in the single video file with video as well as audio streams. The external subtitles, on the other hand, are separate files which are easy to edit and change.

Part 2. Why People Need Subtitles

The need for subtitle arises due to several reasons. Listed below are the major reasons why subtitles are important for a video file.

1.         Subtitles works as an excellent option for the people who are hard of hearing. Using subtitles, dialogues can be easily followed by these people. Additionally, if you cannot turn on the audio of the video due to any reasons, subtitles help while watching and understanding the content.

2.         With subtitles better engagement while watching the video can be achieved as the comprehension and understanding is improved.

3.         To watch a foreign language movie or a video, subtitles come to the rescue. So if you want to watch a video that is in a language that you do not know or understand, turn on the subtitles in your language. Moreover, if there is difficulty in recognizing the accent, subtitles work as a great help to understand the spoken dialogues.

4.         The SEO, as well as the social reach of the video, also improves if there are subtitles.

Part 3. How to Add Subtitles

Subtitles can be added to the videos using specialized programs and if you too are looking for a one, we suggest Wondershare UniConverter as an ideal tool. This desktop software is compatible with Windows and Mac system and allows adding local subtitles saved to your system. Option to browse and add the online subtitle is also there at the software. Wondershare UniConverter also allows selecting subtitle font, size, position, outline, and other parameters. Video in almost all popular formats can be added to the program interface for adding the subtitles.

Steps to add subtitles to a video using Wondershare UniConverter

Step 1: Add video and choose to add subtitles

Launch the Wondershare UniConverter software on your system and from the “Convert” section click on the “+ Add Files” to browse and load the video to which subtitles needs to be added.

After the video is added, click on the “Crop” or “Effect” editing icon under the thumbnail image that will open a new pop-up window. Click on the “Subtitle” tab from this pop-up window.

Add video and choose to add subtitles

Step 2: Choose subtitle and its parameters

Hitting on the … button will let you browse and add the locally saved subtitles. The search icon will facilitate searching for the online subtitles available for the video. Next, choose the Font type, color, size, outline width, outline color, transparency, and position of the subtitle. Click on the “OK” button to confirm the changes.

Choose subtitle and its parameters

Step 3: Choose output format and add subtitles

Next, at “Convert all files to:” tab on the top-right corner, select the desired output format and the resolution of the video. At the “Output” section, select desktop location to save the processed file. Finally, click on the “Convert All” button to start the process.

Choose output format and add subtitles

Part 4. Recommended Tools to Edit Subtitles

If you want to edit the subtitles for your videos, several tools are available to help you with the task. Listed below are the popular ones in the category.

1.  Notepad

Notepad is one of the most popularly used text editing programs. Using this simple editor you can create as well as edit srt subtitles. A srt is a SubRip Text file that consists of simple text data that is formatted. While creating or editing subtitles in notepad you need to mention the Subtitle number Start time -> End time subtitle text and then a blank line.

The start and the end time of the subtitle need to be written in hours: minutes: seconds: milliseconds format. This created subtitle file can be added to any video file as desired.


2.  Subtitle Workshop:

This is free to use tool that facilitates subtitle editing simply. With a user-friendly and customizable interface, the tool allows creating, editing, as well as converting subtitles which are text-based. All popular subtitle formats like ass, sub, dks, scr, and others are supported by the tool. Several advanced features are also supported by the program like automatic timing, duration, text manipulations, spell check, search and replace, smart line adjusting, and others. The tool supports style tags as well as color tags in the subtitles. The subtitle editing is fast and stable using the tool.


3.  Sublight:

This is another popular tool that allows editing subtitles. The program is free to use and supports multiple functions. More than one million subtitles can be accessed by the program and it allows auto-detecting over 150,000 movies as well as TV series. Additional features include subtitle translation to 21 languages, plug-in support to access subtitles from several sources, subtitle synchronization, and others.


Part 5. How to Resync Subtitles

With multiple releases of subtitle files for a video, many a time, the problem of timing, different frame rate, encoding, and decoding is there. So in such situations, the subtitles appear either too early or too late and can also drift out of sync. In such conditions, there is the need for re-syncing using a specialized tool. Below listed are the best tools to resync subtitles.

1. Subtitle Tools:

This is free to use online tool that allows syncing subtitles files permanently. The process of syncing is fast and simple and the program support srt, ass, ssa, smi, and webvtt subtitle formats. The tool allows shifting all the timings inside the subtitle files by entering the milliseconds amount. If the negative time is entered, the subtitles will appear earlier and if the positive time is entered, the dialogue will appear later. As the file is processed, they are permanently synced with the video.

Subtitle Tools

2. Subshifter:

This is another browser-based tool that facilitates shifting the time stamps of the movie subtitle. In situations when there is offset between the subtitles and movie or when there is a time scale difference the program helps in re-syncing. Subshifter supports SRT format and the process is fast and simple. The interface of the tool is self-explanatory where you need to load the subtitle file and then choose the time shift amount. Linear correction is also facilitated by the system.


Part 6. Best Players to Play Video with Multiple Subtitles

To play videos with subtitles, you should use a player that supports captions and subtitles. Listed below are the popular players that facilitate playing videos with multiple subtitles.

1. Wondershare UniConverter:

Wondershare UniConverter is an excellent video toolbox that supports multiple functions like video conversion, adding subtitles, video compression, video editing, others. Additionally, there is also a built-in player in the software that allows playing videos having multiple subtitles like SRT, SSA, ASS, and others. Videos in almost all popularly used formats are supported by the tool for the playback. Using UniConverter, you just need to load the video and start playing it in the player window of the tool. Software is available for download on Windows and Mac system.

Wondershare UniConverter

2. VLC Player:

Free to use, VLC is an open-source media player that allows playback of multimedia files in almost all formats including files from DVDs, CDs, and VCDs. Videos having multiple subtitles can be easily played using this cross-platform tool compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and others. The player is capable of playing most of the codecs and thus no additional packs are needed. Without any ads or spyware, the player tool is safe to use.

VLC Player

3. KMPlayer:

This is another popularly used player that is compatible with Windows, Mac, and had a mobile version as well. Videos with captions and subtitles in multiple formats and languages can be played in a hassle-free manner using the tool. Additionally, the player can play videos in high quality including 4K, 8K, UHD, 60fps, and others. All widely used video formats like AVI, MPEG, MP4, WebM, and others are supported by the tool. The player also allows customizing the subtitles using the control box that facilitates syncing of the files that are out-of-sync.


4. BSPlayer:

This is a top-rated multimedia player that comes in a free and a paid version and allows playing videos with subtitles. Almost all formats including MicroDVD, SubRip, SubViewer, SSA, SRT, and others are supported by the player as subtitle formats. The tool facilitates looking for the online subtitles automatically and the desired one can be selected from the available options.


5. PotPlayer:

Compatible with Windows, this is a popular multimedia player that allows playing video has subtitles. The formats supported include SMI, SRT, and DVD (Vobsub). Blu-ray subtitles are also supported by the player along with ASS, SSA animation, and SMI ruby tags. Additional features include supports to a variety of codecs, previewing the scene with the snapshots, option to bookmark scene or a chapter, seamless play, and others.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.