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introduction of the subtitle

Everything You Must Know About Subtitle

by Kayla Morrison • 2024-01-11 10:26:11 • Proven solutions

In this article, we shall understand what is a subtitle and its importance. Let us start reading further.

Know-it-all:What is a subtitle - Subtitle is the most common means of translating (mostly a video document) into another language, which makes the other language people enjoy it like they understand everything. Consider the example like, subtitled foreign language films or even TV-series. Subtitles are most suitable and most commonly used for pre-recorded videos, movies,and TV shows.

Simple and insignificant they may sound, but subtitles are of great importance. When we dont understand the accent of the English being spoken in a movie, subtitles make our life easier by helping us understand the meaning of dialogues. There are many ways in which they help us and thus are extensively relied on by viewers.

  • They especially help a lot of deaf and the hard of hearing people.
  • People also depend a lot on subtitles for low-quality speakers, loud places.
  • The mommies who do not wish to disturb their sleeping tots also get a lot of help from subtitles.
  • Subtitle not only helps to understand the movie or other programs watched on the television, but it also helps people who are curious to learn foreign languages.
  • If you use the subtitle, then there is no need of searching the internet or find someone to know the meaning of words.
  • In some cases, it has been observed that subtitles also offer great help for those who are working on improving their speed of reading.

Now that we have a basic knowledge of what is a subtitle, let know about the different types of it.



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Part 1. Three Common Types of Subtitles

Broadly, subtitles can be categorized into two parts:

  • Open Subtitles: Which are open to all and cannot be switched off by viewers.
  • Closed Subtitles: Which are designed for a specific set of viewers, and can be switched on and off by the viewer.

Based on the distributing content, subtitles are categorized into 3 types:

1. Hard (hard-subs or open) Subtitles

In this type, the subtitle text is permanently added in the original video frames, thus no additional equipment or software is needed for the replay of the content. Best examples are karaoke song lyrics where the text is added with various colors, fonts, dimensions, graphics, etc. to follow the same. These subtitles cannot be switched off by the users.

what it is hard subs

2. Pre-rendered (closed) Subtitles

In this type of subtitles, distinct video frames are put over the original video file during the playback. Pre-rendered subtitles are generally used on DVD and Blu-ray. Here, turning off the subtitles is possible. Also, adding multiple language subtitles and changing over between them is possible. In this case, the subtitles are encoded as images with marginal bit rate and colors. They generally don’t have anti-aliased font pasteurization. Also, with the help of specialized software such as OCR or SubRip, you can modify these subtitles to "soft".

what it is closed subtitle

3. Soft (soft-subs or closed) Subtitles

These are usually distinct commands, such as particularly marked-up content with timestamps which are revealed during playback. It needs player support for playback. Soft-subs are comparatively easy to make and modify and hence are commonly used for fansubs. The quality of text representation may vary based on the player but is usually better than pre-rendered subtitles. Another feature of this type is that some formats may show up troubles in encoding texts for the viewers, especially when multiple languages are used at the same time.

There is another way of categorizing the subtitles. Under this, digital video subtitles are categorized as under:

1. Internal: When the subtitles are rooted in a single video file container as the video and audio are played back

2. External: When they are broadcasted as separate files. In this case, it is easier to edit the subtitles.

categorizing the subtitles



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Part 2. Top 5 Subtitle Formats

1. Sub Rip: This is the simplest format of subtitles. What is an srt file? It is named with extension .srt. It contains configured lines of text in batches divided by a blank line. These texts are numbered successively.

2. SubStation Alpha: Also known as SSA, it allows for more innovative subtitles than the traditional SRT formats. This format is generally used in animated fansubs.

3. Sub Viewer: Sub Viewer makes use of texts with the .sub extension to define timing and labeling information. Substitute languages or objectives can also be included here by making a separate .sub file for each event.

4. Timed text: They are used in the real-time captioning of foreign-language movies on the internet; captioning for people with hearing impairments or lacking audio supporting devices such as headphones, karaoke lyrics, scrolling news items, and so on.

5. Micro DVD: This is a subtitle file format largely compatible with digital videos. Micro DVD subtitle files carry the .sub filename extension.

tells what it is micro dvd



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Part 3. Different Way to Make Full Use of Subtitles

Now that we know what is a subtitle and what is an .srt file, let us know the ways in which you make the best use of subtitles. They play a vital role in many ways. Following are some ways which can make optimum usage of subtitles:

1. Subtitles Develop Better SEO Response: Advertisements with subtitles are viewed and understood more than those without them.

2. Subtitles Help Deaf or Hard of Hearing Audience: Videos with subtitles under them help deaf and audibly-challenged people to understand them in a much better way.

3. Entertainment Redefined: People are now able to watch movies and videos of foreign languages and even understand them only due to the presence of subtitles.

4. Aids in International Marketing: Translating English subtitles into foreign languages and vice versa is a very helpful tool in making your products, services, and ideas in a foreign market.

5. Use of Subtitles in Education: Many students travel abroad to pursue their dreams, but an unfamiliar language may hamper their understanding. Especially while watching educational videos, having subtitles helps not only the deaf students but everyone else who may not be very well versed in the language.


If you want to know how to convert MOV to AVI, move to How to Easily Convert MOV to AVI on Windows/Mac.

Kayla Morrison

Kayla Morrison

staff Editor

Resource > Add Subtitle > Everything You Must Know About Subtitle