Different Types Of Subtitles (Hardsub Vs. Softsub)

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types of subtitles-hardsub vs. softsub- deskdub video translation software

Globalization and growth of technology has allowed access to various video content. Especially through quarantine because of covid-19, video content expanded even more across the globe. While many people are ok with an English version of videos, some vendors want to reach a wider audience by providing subtitles or dubbing the video and movies. because of that many video platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are providing auto captions and translation (subtitles). 

So we are going to talk about different types of subtitles and why subtitles are important and also which type of subtitles are better to use. so stay tuned.

You can easily add subtitles to your video online. With Deskdub video translation software, your videos will be translated in just a few minutes. You can try free demo now:

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Subtitle definition

Let’s  start with the definition of subtitles. Subtitles  are the words that are superimposed over the video or film.with subtitles you can translate the screenplay, transcript or dialogue into another language. Subtitles are often displayed at the screen’s lower part.

Many people use the word caption instead of subtitles by mistake. But they are different and they have different uses.  Captions are a transcription of dialogue and the sound of the video, while subtitles are a translation of the video to another language. We are going to explain more about each of them. 

To read more: Everything About Subtitling and Captioning 

What are the subtitles used for

condensed written translations of original dialogue which appear as lines of text, usually positioned towards the foot of the screen. Subtitles appear and disappear to coincide in time with the corresponding portion of the original dialogue and are almost always added to the screen image at a later date as a post-production activity. This description outlines the most distinctive characteristics of subtitling in terms of the content (written translations), position (the foot of the screen), presentation (synchrony), production (post-production activity) and nature (additive). Subtitling is used for some audiovisual products, such as cinema, television, video, DVD, LaserDisc, CDRom, computer games, Internet and live performances, etc.

You can use Deskdub automatic subtitle translator to add subtitles to your English videos.

Why subtitles are important (benefits of subtitles)

  1. In subtitled video content the audience can listen to the actors original voices. it makes the audiences feel the original sense of the movie. That’s why many watchers prefer subtitled movies over dubbed movies. If the subtitle be accurate and well translated, the subtitled video can build a good experience for the watchers.
different types of subtitles - hardsub softsub prerendered - add subtitles to videos online

2. Watching videos with subtitles is beneficial to language learners. because they can improve their foreign language skills. They can listen to the vocabulary, pronunciations and grammar. so they might watch your video only because you provided subtitles and they can learn a foreign language!

3. Another good thing about subtitles is that you can globalize your video content. the people who are hard of hearing I can understand your videos. so by providing captions, you can add many more people to your audience. and by providing subtitles you can extend your audiences through different countries; whether they are able to hear your video or not.

4. Creating subtitled videos takes less time than dubbed videos. because dubbing a video can take so much time.

5. Based on PLY media research, videos with subtitles are watched 40% more than videos without subtitles. That means transcription and subtitles can attract audiences’ attention.

6. Subtitles and captions improve the video SEO. As a video marketer or video content creator you must know the importance of video SEO.

Read more: Subtitle and Video SEO

Types of subtitles

 we have three different types of subtitles:

 1. hardsub

2. SRT file or softsub

3.prerendered subtitles

What is hardsub 

Hardsub is the subtitle which is burnt to the video permanently. That means you can’t separate them from the video and whenever you want to watch the video you will see the subtitles as well. They are part of the video so you cannot show/hide them in a player. It’s good for streaming and watching the ep on a television or mobile device, e.g. smartphones, tablets…

The benefit of this type of subtitle is that it can be accurate and well timed and you can play it everywhere with the movie. but you can’t edit them ever.

different types of subtitles - hardsub softsub prerendered - add subtitles to videos online - Deskdub

What is softsub

Softsub means you have the video and the subs in 2 different files. so you can play them together with a player like Potplayer/VLC. It’s also good because the video is the same one as the raw, it’s not altered by converting. You can show/hide the subtitles the way you want to.

Softsubs are editable in the future but hardsubs are not.

Add hardsub or softsub to any videos:

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Top 5 Subtitle Formats

  1. Sub Rip: This is the easiest format of subtitles. what’s an srt file? it’s 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 called SSA, it allows for more innovative subtitles than the standard SRT formats. This format is usually utilized 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 also can be included here by making a separate .sub file for every event.
  4. Timed text: they’re employed in the real-time captioning of foreign-language movies on the internet; captioning for people with hearing impairments or lacking audio supporting devices like headphones, karaoke lyrics, scrolling news items, and so on.
  5. Micro DVD: this can be a subtitle file format largely compatible with digital videos. Micro DVD subtitle files carry the .sub string.

Softsubs formats


SSA (SubStation Alpha)

TTML (Timed Text Markup Language)

SBV (format of youtube subtitles)

DFXP (Distribution Format Exchange Profile)

VTT (Web Video Text Track)

TXT (untimed text transcript)

IDX ( Internet Data Display)

Pre-rendered subtitles

 Pre-rendered subtitles are also called 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. … Also, with the help of specialized software such as OCR or SubRip, you can modify these subtitles to “soft”. So they are editable as well. 

Subtitling or dubbing? (translate video and movie)

Subtitling  enjoys some advantages over dubbing, as an inexpensive, quick, foreign-culture friendly and generally fairly politically correct mode of screen translation‖ (O‘Connell, 2007, p.67). Subtitling poses new challenges to traditional translation, like the space and time constraints inherent in the subtitling process, the visual conventions, the shift of modes from speech to writing as well as other challenges that have been brought along. One of them is its classification, which might be the starting point of any scholarly work on this subject. It is no easy task. The difficulty lies not only in the multitude of the types in existence, but also in the fact that it has a lot to do not with language alone but with technology, etc. Anyway, a proper and easily accessible classification will surely help both the scholarly study of subtitling and its professional practice.

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