10 easy steps to creating Facebook subtitles

Increase your video engagement with our practical guide on how to subtitle your Facebook videos, along with our top editorial tips for clear and concise text.

Digital media is becoming ever more inclusive, catering to audiences with differing needs, so it’s essential to have subtitled video content.

Increasingly users are watching video with the sound off. According to a BBC white paper, 18% of online users make use of subtitles, which increases to 35% if accessing educational material. Countless businesses are waking up to the massive opportunities that increased accessibility offers in widening audiences, meeting new customers and boosting engagement.

Subtitles aren’t just a function for the hearing impaired. They may be used by viewers who have English as a second language, people viewing videos from work, anyone travelling without headphones, or viewing from a place with a lot of background noise. That aside, why should you subtitle your videos? Because making your media easy to engage with is the right thing to do. The benefit for you is that it increases interaction and spreads your message further. Everyone wins.

If you’re a business aiming to be more inclusive, your video content is the best way to start. It’s one of the most engaged with mediums on the internet, and you don’t even need fancy software or a video editor, because Facebook have a tool that allows you to do it yourself.

The first few goes can be challenging, so below is a practical guide on how to go through the steps of adding your own subtitles on Facebook. And because there’s a bit more to it than that just using the tool, we’ve also included some editorial recommendations to make sure that your text is accurate and easy to read.

If your subtitles are good, the user will hardly even realise they’re there – in this guide we’ll show you how to aim for that.

Subtitles take some thought, so here are the editorial considerations… (this part is actually 9 steps).
  1. Remember to be clear about who is talking
    If your video is an interview or a group of people having a conversation, you are going to need to be clear to the reader when a new person is talking. It can be confusing to see a conversation take place with no indication of who is saying what. Resolve this by either using the person’s name before the text, or making sure the text is run in the right frames with the speaker. If you aren’t sure, put the subtitles on next time you’re watching Netflix to get a sense of what they do.
  2. You don’t have to transcribe the exact words
    If you’re making a corporate video, this one is important. Most of us have speech habits (idiolect) that sound really warm and personable to the ear, but reproduced in text might jar the reader. For instance, during an interview, the speaker may overuse words such as ‘like’ and ‘right’. That’s okay occasionally, but don’t transcribe it every time. This doesn’t stand if the piece is a dramatic work or a news story – in those cases you will want to capture the drama of the speech as it is.
  3. Stick to the point
    You will also find speakers begin making a point and change their mind after a couple of words. Again, if the video is a dramatic/creative piece of work, include it, there’s a reason it’s there. Ditto if it’s news footage. However, if it’s a corporate film, keep it concise and tidy up those things.
  4. Don’t change people’s words
    Don’t correct grammar if it indicates a dialect/regional accent – as long as it doesn’t render incomprehensible. If someone uses a regional word – do not change it. You want to retain the integrity of the dialogue as much as possible.
  5. Go over it more than once
    The first go is picking up the words as accurately as you can, but it will take a few times to get this right. Go over it more than once. Make sure it actually makes sense. If it’s a long video, come back to it after a break or two.
  6. Punctuate properly!
    It might seem obvious, but at times when a task needs to be completed, the quality can suffer. Capital letters in the right places, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks do no become obsolete just because you are on a deadline.
  7. Watch it as a viewer after each edit.
    As with all writing, you need to proofread. Once you’ve edited, give your eyes a rest and come back to watch it as a viewer. This ensures that it makes sense.
  8. Get a second pair of eyes
    It’s always best to get a second opinion to make sure you have heard everything correctly and that it all makes sense. When you’re working on something – anything – you can get too close to it, which lessens your objectivity. It’s only asking someone to proofread your work, don’t be shy.
  9. Time text to the video
    Be careful of the frame the text appears in. It has to make sense visually to the action in the video.
The practical bit: How to add your subtitles to Facebook (in ten steps!)

1) Upload a video to your page how you usually would, but this time, click on the ‘subtitles and captions’ section.

2) Enter your chosen language for the subtitles.

You will then be given a number of selections: if you click ‘Write’, you can type out the text according to the frame exactly as you want it. This is a good option if you want to add other things, or heavily cut back on the dialogue. However, if you click the ‘Auto-generate’ tool, the tool will automatically populate the content and you can then go in and edit after. This saves a lot of time, and still gives you complete control over the text.

3) Don’t leave the auto-generated text without reviewing or editing.
The tool is great, but inaccuracies do occur, it’s best to review the content and edit accordingly. It takes some time for the function to generate, but now you just wait.

4) Click ‘review and edit’.

5) Once you’ve clicked the edit tool, your video will open, with the text on the right hand side.
Listen to the video by pressing play. When you spot an area that needs amending, click pause, and edit the text accordingly.

6) When you finish, press save, and publish as you normally would.

7) To customise colours and fonts of your videos: go to the settings section of your page by clicking the drop down arrow at the top right. Then select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.

8) Once on the Settings page, select ‘Videos’ at the lower left part of the page.

9) Click ‘edit’ on Captions Display.

10) Customise accordingly and press save:

And then you’re all set!

See the BBC’s handy guide for more in-depth guidance.

Jade Zienkiewicz, Content Director at PhlashwebWritten by Jade Zienkiewicz at Phlashweb.

Did you find this useful? Follow us on Facebook.


No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.