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 videos. They’re a critical part of accessibility, but they are also helpful for longer form and educational content in any language.

Whether you’re trying to make sure people can get the message of your video (even without the sound), looking to expand your viewer base with multilingual captions, or just searching for a little more love in the video SEO department, Wistia Captions can help.

Let’s jump in to creating and using your captions!

Video Overview

Select Your Video

First, navigate to the media page for the video you’d like captions for (the page where you can play the video in your Wistia account).

Under the ▸ Video Actions menu, select the Customize option.

Video Actions > Customize

From the Customize panel, select the Captions settings area. This will turn to captions on ◉ for your video.

captions jamjar

  • If you’d like to have us create the transcript for your video, select the Order Captions option. The transcription should be ready within one business day, and will cost $5/minute.
  • If you already have an SRT file ready to upload, select the Upload SRT option.
Ordering captions is only available for accounts with a paid Wistia plan. Free accounts cannot request captions, as it requires having a billing profile with a credit card on file.

Use Your Captions

Captions control

Once your captions are ready, you will be notified by email, and the button will appear to all viewers who watch your videos. The captions will now be injected into the metadata of your video when using the Standard Embed. To learn more about Video SEO check out our help page.

To customize your video with captions, select Customize from the Video Actions menu. Open the Captionscustomization area.

captions with multiple languages

Inside the Captions customization area, you can choose to Edit, Download, or Delete your SRT file.

Multilingual Captions

You can upload as many SRT files as you’d like to your video. Spanish, English, French, Croatian — the more the merrier!

Wistia allows for multilingual captions, and you’re only limited by your imagination (and maybe fiction — those Klingon captions won’t work 👽).

Right now Wistia only allows you to order captions in English, but if you have an SRT file in another language upload away!

If you’re using a right-to-left read language, you’ll need to accommodate for the flip that takes place in many internet environments. Wistia flips right-to-left captions by default, so building captions to account for this is the easiest fix.

Captions on by Default

If you’d like your captions to be turned on permanently, now’s your chance! Just choose captions on by default from the Captions menu in Customize.

captions on by default

If you’re working with multilingual captions, we’ll supply the captions that match the language of your viewer’s browser. If those captions aren’t available, we’ll serve the first SRT file uploaded (the first in the list).

Editing Your Transcription

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 the Captions area of the Customize panel.

captions srt editor

Make sure to keep the timing in line! If you update the content of your video, the timing may have changed. Make sure to note that in your SRT file!

SRT Formatting

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:

  1. The number for each subtitle (begins with 1).

  2. 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.

  3. The subtitle text. This can be on one or more lines.

  4. A blank line before the start of the next subtitle.

Want an example? Sure thing!

00:00:00,500 --> 00:00:03,840
You can add captions in any
language to your Wistia videos.

00:00:03,840 --> 00:00:06,337
French, Spanish,
Japanese, Arabic.

00:00:06,337 --> 00:00:08,420
When your viewers click
the closed captions button

00:00:08,420 --> 00:00:10,711
on the player, they can choose
their preferred language

00:00:10,711 --> 00:00:11,800
from a drop-down menu.

00:00:11,800 --> 00:00:15,180
Croatian, Czech, Hungarian.

00:00:15,180 --> 00:00:17,520
Now your video's message
is accessible to anyone

00:00:17,520 --> 00:00:19,004
from anywhere.

00:00:19,004 --> 00:00:19,820

00:00:19,820 --> 00:00:22,270
Persian, Latin.

SRT Troubleshooting

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:

srt error message