How to Add Subtitles in Premiere Pro (2024)

How to Add Subtitles in Premiere Pro - Featured Image

Captions and subtitles are important if you’re looking to create accessible videos. And, if you’re new to Premiere Pro, you might not know how to do that. Subtitles aren’t just a button you can flip. There’s a little bit of manual labor involved and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here.

Premiere Pro does have Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), giving it the capability to generate subtitles automatically. But, sometimes, that may not be the best way. 

Here are the various ways to dabble in the art of subtitling with Premiere Pro and some third-party software as well.

Overview of Premiere Pro’s Caption and Subtitle Capabilities

Adobe Premiere Pro has a variety of features designed for captioning and subtitling, so let’s take a quick look at the most important ones.

  • Automatic Speech Recognition: Adobe Premiere Pro is equipped with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), which can help users generate subtitles automatically.
  • Dedicated Editing Workspace: Adobe Premiere Pro features a dedicated workspace designed specifically for creating subtitles and captions, creating a streamlined workflow for creating and editing captions and subtitles.
  • Extensive Customization: This software allows for great customization capabilities, including size, font, color, and background.
  • Multi-Language Support: It allows for the creation of multi-language subtitle tracks, therefore making it more suitable for people who need to create media content in various languages.
  • Real-time Preview: The preview feature allows you to preview your subtitles and captions within the video content as you work. This allows you to edit and adjust the captions in real-time, thus allowing for the greatest degree of quality.

Although Premiere Pro is a great tool to use, if you are looking for a user-friendly alternative, Sonix’s automated subtitles and captions might be best for you!

How to Add Auto-Generated Subtitles and Captions in Premiere Pro

One of Premiere Pro’s best features is, of course, its ability to add subtitles and captions to videos automatically. 

Although the process is automated, there are still a few steps you have to take to complete this process successfully.

Step 1: Navigate to the Captions Workspace

  • Open up Adobe Premiere Pro, and then select the project you wish to work on. Once the project is open, hover over “Window” in the top toolbar, click on “Workspaces” and select “Captions and Graphics.” Alternatively, you can also press Alt + Shift + 4.
  • This will switch you over to a different workspace specifically focused on subtitling.

Step 2: Generate Automatic Subtitles and Captions

  • To start the transcription process, click on the “Text” tab just below the main toolbar and hit the “Transcribe” button.
  • Premiere Pro will start transcribing your video. This process should take a couple of minutes, depending on the length of your video.
  • Once the transcription panel is open, you can also select the exact audio track that needs to be transcribed and turned into captions or subtitles. Make sure only to choose the audio track that you want to transcribe, especially if there is a video with numerous audio tracks. You only want the desired dialogue or audio being transcribed.

To achieve the best possible results, using audio that does not have background noise, combined with clear annunciation or dialogue, is ideal.

Step 3: Edit and Customize the Subtitles

  • Although Adobe Premiere Pro is reasonably accurate, the keyword here is ‘reasonably’. The software uses AI, which can be wrong, especially when the dialogue in question is a bit quiet or muffled. In the screenshot of the transcription of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, you can see that there are a bunch of words that the AI cannot pick up. Because of that, it’s still important for you to review the transcript, as there may be some small errors. This text panel will appear as soon as the transcript is generated.
  • Be aware that what you have now are not yet subtitles or captions but rather a transcript of the dialogue. Within the text panel, you should see a button that says “Create Captions.” Click on this, and Adobe Premiere Pro will proceed to take the transcript and segment it into individual captions, and use its advanced features to place the captions in the appropriate sections of the video based on video timing and pauses in the speech.
  • If the subtitles or captions are not perfectly synced with the spoken words or visual cues in your piece of media, you can adjust the segment length of the captions as well as the timing within the same panel. You can do this by dragging the orange bars below. A good subtitle sync shifter is also an option for this purpose.
  • You can now proceed to edit and customize the subtitles in any way you see fit, and this is done using the “Essential Graphics” panel. Click on this panel, and edit the colors, sizes, and styles of the caption or subtitle fonts as desired. 

For a visual reference, watch this video on subtitling with Premiere Pro:

Tips for Using AI Transcription Tools in Premiere Pro

Let’s quickly go over a few important tips to make your life a little bit easier when making captions and subtitles automatically in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Use High-Quality Audio

While we realize that this may not always be in your control, it’s still worth mentioning. The higher the quality of the audio, the better the transcription accuracy will be. Always make sure to use audio that has clearly spoken dialogue and minimal background noise.

Label Speakers

If the video contains multiple speakers, you’ll want to label each one in the transcript manually for optimal clarity. Or else, when the transcript is converted into captions, readers might not be aware of who is saying what.

Be Consistent

To ensure optimal quality, you need to maintain consistency throughout the video. This means that the captions should always have the same position, color, fonts, and other defining characteristics.

Check the Result and Edit as Needed

Although Adobe Premiere Pro is extremely accurate and high quality, you still want to do one final check of the video with the captions inserted to see if there are any timing issues or missed errors. 

If there are, now is your chance to correct them. If you’re looking for a specific part in the video, you can use the search function within the transcription panel to find specific parts and quickly edit them.

How to Add SRT Subtitle Files and Other Formats in Premiere Pro

Sometimes, all you want to do is add an already existing subtitle file to your video instead of generating it. If you do, you most likely have an SRT file ready to go.

SRT subtitles are some of the most popular types of subtitles used for video content. These plain text files include the subtitles or dialogue in sequence, along with time codes. 

Let’s see how you can add SRT subtitle files as well as other formats in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Step 1: Prepare Your Subtitle File

  • Before you start importing any subtitles into Premiere Pro, make sure that the file is prepared. SRT or SubRip Subtitle files are the most common, but Adobe Premiere Pro happens to support other formats as well, including .STL and .VTT. 
  • A pro tip here is to ensure that the subtitle file is accurate in terms of text and timing before you import it into Premiere Pro. It’s something that will help save you a lot of time on editing later on in this process.

Step 2: Import the Subtitle File

  • You now need to import the subtitle file into Premiere Pro. At the top of your screen, select the “File” menu and then select the “Import” button. 
  • Navigate your device to select the appropriate subtitle file you wish to add. If this isn’t suitable for you, you can drag and drop the subtitle file onto the project panel.

Step 3: Add the Subtitle Track to Your Sequence

  • Once the file has been imported into Adobe Premiere Pro, you can then drag the subtitle file directly from the project panel onto the timeline. 
  • You now have the ability to position the subtitle file onto the video track exactly where you want the subtitles to be shown. This is how you create a dedicated subtitle track. 
  • A pro tip here is to make sure that the video track and the subtitle track are locked together so you don’t have any accidental misalignment issues while editing.

Step 4: Synchronize Subtitles with the Video

  • Now is where you’ll have to do a bit of fine-tuning. Some of the text might not exactly match the spoken words. 
  • Using the dedicated panel, you can adjust and move around individual clips of subtitles to exactly where they need to be on the timeline. 
  • A pro tip on this front is to utilize the audio waveform shown right on the timeline, as this will help you synchronize the speech and subtitles together with great accuracy.

Managing and Synchronizing Subtitle Tracks

There are a number of processes you might have to go through to ensure maximum accuracy and quality of the SRT subtitles.

Adjusting Timing

The subtitles may appear either too late or too early when compared to the spoken dialogue. If this is the case, you can go to the timeline, select them directly, and then drag them into the appropriate position. You can also adjust the duration of the clip by dragging both the start and end points of the subtitle clip.

Editing Subtitle Text

If the subtitle’s text is in any way wrong or inadequate, you can double-click on the subtitle clip within the timeline to open up the text editing interface. Here, you can directly modify the text by adjusting line breaks, rewriting sentences so they are clear, or correcting written errors.

Customizing Appearance

If you want to customize the appearance of the subtitles, particularly the color and size of the font, as well as the font itself, you can use the Essential Graphics panel for this purpose. Remember, you want consistency in your subtitles.

Multiple Subtitle Tracks

If you are working on a project that requires subtitles to be in different languages, a good tip is to create separate tracks through each language. You also want to label each one properly so you can easily track them and navigate through them.

Previewing Subtitles

  • Finally, you want to preview your video combined with the subtitles on a regular basis. You should do so consistently throughout the editing process, not just at the end. You want to check for readability, appearance, and synchronization issues along the way.
  • Previewing subtitles for accuracy is crucial, especially for technical elements, such as a legal transcription.
  • Doing so along the way allows you to correct errors as they happen. A pro tip on front is to consider the platform that will display your video, as different platforms may have varying requirements as far as subtitle formatting and appearance are concerned.

How to Create Subtitles with Sonix

Although this is about Adobe Premiere Pro and using it for subtitling purposes, the fact is that you have plenty of options at your disposal, many tools and apps that can perform this task, too. In reality, although Premiere Pro is likely one of the better options out there, it’s not number one and does have a couple of major issues.

First, Premiere Pro, although quite accurate, is not the number one most accurate automatic subtitle generator in the world. When many voices are speaking with heavy accents, fast speech, or background noise, it can have trouble creating accurate transcripts and subtitles. It doesn’t make constant mistakes, but more than we’d like to see.

On that note, Adobe Premiere Pro can also be slightly slow. Even simple files that should only take seconds or a couple of minutes to transcribe and convert into subtitles can take quite some time, often longer than most have patience for. If these two issues, a lack of precision and slow functionality, are deal-breakers for you, we recommend checking out Sonix. 

Why not give it a try today? Get 30 minutes of free transcription when you sign up for a free trial.

How to Add Subtitles in Premiere Pro with Sonix

Luckily, using Sonix to create subtitles and captions for all of your video files is very easy, accurate, and reliable. Follow the steps as listed below to automatically generate subtitles using Sonix.

Step 1: Upload the Video File

  • Once you’ve logged into your account, click on the “Upload” button.
  • After you’ve clicked on this, you can select the file that you want to create subtitles for from your computer.
  • Remember that this software supports a variety of file formats, so compatibility should not be a problem.
  • Once you select the file, it’ll be uploaded to the site and ready to be transcribed.

Step 2: Choose the Language and Transcribe the File

  • Once the file has been uploaded, you need to select the language that is spoken in the video, as this will determine the language that the subtitles are in.
  • If you don’t want to do it manually, there’s an option to auto-detect this as well.
  • Then, you can choose from a variety of specific transcription options, and then click on “Transcribe” to begin the process. 
  • Sonix will transcribe your video into text format, a written transcription in a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Review and Edit the Transcript

Although Sonix is by far one of the most accurate systems in the world as far as transcriptions and subtitling are concerned, there may be a few minor errors or corrections that you need to make.

  • Once the transcription is done, Sonix will generate a transcription quality report that will tell you how good/bad the transcription output is expected to be. This will give you a good idea of how much editing the script requires.
  • Use the in-browser editor to closely examine the transcript for any errors that may need to be corrected and correct them as necessary. 
  • However, keep in mind that these are not subtitles yet, but rather transcripts. The transcripts still need to be converted into subtitles.

Step 4: Create Subtitles Out of the Transcript

  • Once you have the transcript, you can then go to the subtitle menu and click on “Split Transcript”, which will automatically split the transcript into subtitles based on various key factors and requirements.
  • Sonix is very accurate at turning transcripts into subtitles and should be able to match the given text to certain voices and characters within the video file accurately.

Step 5: Review and Edit the Subtitles

Just like the transcript may not be 100% on point, so is the case with the subtitles. 

  • Within the subtitles section of the Sonix platform, click on “Customize Subtitles”. This will allow you to review your subtitles and customize them as needed.
  • For instance, synchronization might be off, which means that the written text may not be totally synchronized with the spoken dialogue in the video.
  • Within the subtitle customization panel, you can change the timing as needed by dragging the subtitles around to the specific time slot where they are required. 
  • Here, you can also change the font, size, and color of the written words displayed on the screen.

Step 6: Burn-in or Otherwise Export

  • Within the subtitle menu in Sonix, you can select “Burn-in,” which allows Sonix to automatically process your subtitles and video, and provide you with a finalized version. 
  • If you want to export the subtitles, you can also choose from different formats, including both SRT and VTT formats, the two most common subtitle types.
  • If you still plan on using Premiere Pro, you can export the subtitles into Premiere Pro and use them within that application. Here’s a guide that shows you how to do this.

Closing Thoughts

The bottom line is that using Adobe Premiere Pro to add video subtitles is fairly easy.

It doesn’t take much effort and generally works well for most purposes. However, it may have issues with accuracy, and it’s not overly fast, either. 

A faster and more accurate solution to your subtitling needs is Sonix, which also happens to have a multitude of other capabilities, although we’ll leave it up to you to decide which is better!

Click here to sign up for a free trial with 30 minutes of transcription today. No credit card required.

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