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How to Permanently Add Subtitles to MP4 on Windows and Mac

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Mar 26 · 26 Mar, 2022
How to Permanently Add Subtitles to MP4 on Windows and Mac

Adding subtitles to your MP4 videos is an excellent way to make them more accessible and help your content reach more viewers. While subtitles and captions work with many online platforms, media players, and home devices, they don't work in every scenario.

Why Add Hardcoded Subtitles to Your MP4 Video?

There are quite a few reasons you would want to add permanent subtitles to your MP4 files. The most important one by far is that you don't have to worry about separate subtitle files. It's also a great way to ensure they'll work on every platform and device without your audience having to turn them on.

Most social media platforms don't support subtitle files. Even the platforms that do support them have their limitations. The end result can look clunky, and your audience often doesn't have any control over that. Hardcoding is the safest route to take if you need to be absolutely sure your viewers will have no issues seeing subtitles in MP4 videos.

Hardcoding Subtitles With HandBrake

If you ever wondered, "How do I permanently add subtitles to MP4," you've probably come across all kinds of instructions, including our VLC hardcoding tutorial. To keep things as simple as possible, we'll cover the procedure in HandBrake this time. It's an open-source video transcoding tool that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Before you start, make sure you get the latest version of HandBrake, a prepared subtitle file (.srt or any other format), and your MP4 video.

  1. Open your video in HandBrake

Open HandBrake and load your video either by navigating to its location by clicking on File or simply dropping the video file into the main window.



  1. Set the output video format

Once you load the video, you'll see HandBrake's main interface. Click on Preset and choose one of the many pre-configured video presets or create your own. Make sure the Format in the Summary tab is set to MP4.


  1. Add your subtitles

Navigate to the Subtitles tab. Click on Tracks and select Import Subtitle from the dropdown menu. Find your subtitle file (.srt in this case), select it, and click Open. Make sure to tick the Burn In box.


  1. Start encoding and be patient

Press the Start Encode button right under the top menu to add subtitles to MP4. Depending on the length of your video and the quality preset you selected, the encoding process can take quite a while, so be patient. After the conversion ends, you can share your newly created video file without worrying if the recipient or your audience sees your subtitles or not.

Where to Get Subtitles for Your MP4 Video?

If you don't have subtitle files for your video content, you can make your own, try out a machine learning solution, or go with a professional human-based subtitling service.

Creating your own subtitle files from scratch is by far the cheapest option, but it's also the one that takes the longest, especially if you have no experience. You have to transcribe every word spoken in the video, make sure each line of text is broken up properly, check if every sentence shows up and disappears at the right time, etc. If you need to translate the dialogue into a different language, that complicates things further.

An automated solution will do a great job in terms of timing, but it will most likely have a hard time with accuracy. Unclear dialogue, multiple speakers talking over each other, heavy accents, background noise, and sound effects - all these things can have a massive impact on the accuracy if you're using algorithm-based subtitling, so the end result will still need quite a bit of serious editing before it's good to go.

Finally, human-based subtitling services may cost a bit more, but they're also by far the most accurate because nothing comes close to the human ear. If you want to ensure your subtitles are accurate and free from errors, human subtitling is the way to go. Add translation to the mix and the way your subtitles are handled becomes even more important. Only a professional service can ensure there are no misunderstandings with your foreign audiences.

Looking for a Reliable Subtitling Service?

Reaching a global audience requires high production quality, including accurate captions and subtitles. With a professional service like GoTranscript, you can be absolutely sure your subtitles are flawless. Regardless of your target audience, our subtitles are accurate, properly formatted, and translated to convey your message clearly in over 50 languages.