Closed captioning makes content that’s easier for viewers to digest and read (even in different languages), and has awesome SEO benefits.
Captions make it easy for viewers to digest the content of your media. They’re a critical part of accessibility, but they are also helpful for longer form and educational content in any language. Wistia captions are also interactive, which means they’re searchable and viewers can jump right to a certain point in the media by clicking on a section of subtitles.
Whether you’re trying to make sure people can get the message of your media (even without the sound), looking to expand your viewer base with multilingual captions, or just searching for a little more love in the media SEO department, Wistia Captions can help.
Let’s jump in to creating and using your captions!
If you spot an error in the automated captions we produce for you, or just need to update your SRT file, you can do that easily by selecting the Edit option in thearea of the Customize panel.
SRT stands for “SubRip Text,” which is a basic subtitle format. If you’d prefer not to order your captions through us, SRT files can be created and edited using most text editors.
The correct formatting for an SRT file is comprised of four parts:
The number for each subtitle (begins with 1).
The beginning and ending time for each subtitle, formatted as
hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds, and separated by
-->. There should be one space between the starting time and the
-->, and one space between the
-->and the ending time.
The subtitle text. This can be on one or more lines.
A blank line before the start of the next subtitle.
Want an example? Sure thing!
1 00:00:00,500 --> 00:00:03,840 You can add captions in any language to your Wistia medias. 2 00:00:03,840 --> 00:00:06,337 French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic. 3 00:00:06,337 --> 00:00:08,420 When your viewers click the closed captions button 4 00:00:08,420 --> 00:00:10,711 on the player, they can choose their preferred language 5 00:00:10,711 --> 00:00:11,800 from a drop-down menu. 6 00:00:11,800 --> 00:00:15,180 Croatian, Czech, Hungarian. 7 00:00:15,180 --> 00:00:17,520 Now your media's message is accessible to anyone 8 00:00:17,520 --> 00:00:19,004 from anywhere. 9 00:00:19,004 --> 00:00:19,820 Anywhere. 10 00:00:19,820 --> 00:00:22,270 Persian, Latin.
Now that your captions are formatted correctly, you’ll want to save them as an SRT file.
Here’s how you can save your file as an .srt in TextEdit:
- Format -> Make Plain Text (or Shift + Command + T)
- File -> Save
- Name your file and edit the extension to be .srt
Once you save your file with the .srt extension, you’ll be good to go!
SRT files need to follow the above formatting exactly, otherwise the upload to Wistia will fail. If this happens, we’ll provide you with an error message pointing to the problem area, like this:
This message will point you right to the line that needs fixing so you can edit it as needed. Save your edits and try uploading again.
Here are some common issues that can occur with SRT files:
Captions are formatted correctly, but still getting rejected. You might have an em-dash! An em-dash ( — ) can sometimes be inserted by word processors if you double tap the hyphen key (-). Depending on your text editor’s font, a timing arrow with an em dash can look identical to a correctly formatted one.
Here’s a quick example:
-->, can actually be — -> !
You can check for these by pasting a sample time stamp into another text field. These are also easier to pick up on with an automated captions checker.
Special characters are displaying as � � � instead. The solution to this is to encode your SRT files as UTF-8. Sometimes they’ll be exported in other encodings like UTF-16.
File is encoded in UTF-8 and is being rejected. If everything else is in order, check to be sure that your file is encoded in UTF-8, and not
UTF-8 with BOM. A Byte Order Mark (BOM) is a special character that can get inserted at the start of certain text files, and can sometimes be hard to detect since it’s not visible in most editors.
Familiar with using command line applications via your computer’s terminal? If so, you can use the handy tool Subcheck to scan whole SRT files for errors. It can even make automatic adjustments to the file. This tool is a favorite of the Wistia Customer Champs 😃
Speaking of the Champs, if you’re having trouble working out the exact issue with an SRT file, you can always reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance!