How to Add Captions and Subtitles on Vimeo

How to Add Captions and Subtitles on Vimeo

Vimeo is the go-to platform for professional video creators wanting to share their high-quality content. And adding captions and subtitles to your Vimeo videos makes your video content accessible for a wide range of audiences. Firstly for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing. Then for those who don't fully understand the language of the video. And it's even useful for those who want to watch your video on the go, audio-free.

In this guide we'll walk you through how to add subtitles and captions to your Vimeo videos, to make your content accessible for everyone.

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Captions vs subtitles

The terms captions and subtitles are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference:


Subtitles are typically used for video content that is likely to be consumed by an international audience, and they're simply a transcription and translation of the dialogue in the video.


Captions are designed for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. They include a transcription of the dialogue, but they usually go a step further and also include background noises, speaker differentiation, and other relevant information to make content more accessible for this audience.

Captions come in two forms: open or closed captions. Closed captions (CC) can be turned off by the viewer, while open captions are embedded into the video and can't be turned off.

How to add captions and subtitles using Vimeo's auto-captioning tool

The first option for adding subtitles on Vimeo is the platform's built-in auto-captioning tool. Users with paid accounts will have closed captions automatically added to any new video upload. However, these auto captions don't include additional information like background noise, so if you want that info included, you'll need to edit the captions yourself.

While these auto-generated subtitles are certainly convenient if you have a paid account, they aren't always the highest quality. What's more, Vimeo's automated subtitles are currently only available in English, so they're no good if your videos are in other languages.

If you're not on a paid plan, or if you want to add captions in another language, you'll need to add them manually. Fortunately, that's easy to do with Transcribe! Here's how...

How to add Vimeo subtitles and captions using Transcribe

Whether you're not on a paid plan or you want to add Vimeo subtitles in a language other than English, turn to Transcribe for help. Our AI-powered video transcription software provides you with incredibly fast, high-quality caption files at the best possible price. And as well as being quick and cost-efficient, Transcribe supports more than 120 languages and dialects!

First you'll need to get a transcription of your Vimeo video - this will become your caption file. Then you'll upload it to Vimeo.

Getting your caption file

To get started, you'll need to download your video from Vimeo (or if you have it downloaded already, you're good to go). Then when you're ready, follow these steps to get a transcription of your Vimeo video:

1. Download your video from Vimeo

Or if you have it downloaded already, you're good to go! Your video will automatically have downloaded as an mp4, but we also support m4v, mov, and avi.

2. Download the Transcribe app or launch the online editor.

3. Upload your Vimeo video

Import your video from your phone or computer.

4. Choose your language

Select the language of your Vimeo video from more than 120 languages and dialects.

5. Start the transcription process

You won't be waiting long - your transcription will be ready in a matter of minutes!

6. Proofread and polish the text

You can do this in the app, online, or in your preferred file format. At this point you might also wish to add extra information for your captions, such as background noises, speaker differentiation, and other audio cues.

7. Export your video in SRT

SRT is a file format made up of time coding and plain text which is specifically for captions and subtitles.

Caption file sorted, now to upload it!

Uploading your caption file to Vimeo

Once you've got your transcription ready and saved as an SRT file, adding captions to your Vimeo video is easy:

1. Go to your video manager and open the video you want to caption

2. Choose Advanced on the right side to get to additional video settings

3. Select Distribution followed by Subtitles

4. Hit the + button, specify your captions' language and file type

5. Click Choose File and upload the caption file

6. Toggle it on to activate video captions once the file has finished uploading

Et voila! Your captions will now be available for anyone watching your video.

Vimeo subtitles FAQs

What file formats does Vimeo support for captions?

Vimeo supports SRT, WebVTT, DFXP/TTML, Scenarist, and SAMI for caption files.

Why is Vimeo not showing subtitles?

If Vimeo isn't showing subtitles for your videos during playback, it might be because you haven't activated the caption file by toggling it on. You can toggle on the file by clicking the CC button underneath the video. Once it's blue, the caption file has been activated.

How to download Vimeo subtitles

If you want to download a copy of Vimeo's auto-generated captions, you can do so by following these steps:

1. Go to the video's clip page

2. Click the Download button

3. In the window that appears, select the caption file for download

Ready to add Vimeo subtitles?

You should now have a good idea of how to add subtitles and captions to your Vimeo videos, and in no time at all your video content will be more accessible for a wide range of viewers.

Download the Transcribe app or launch the online editor to get started!

Written By Katie Garrett

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