How To Add Captions to TikTok
In a world encapsulated by short videos for entertainment, creating your own can seem like a fun way to unleash your creativity.
Putting yourself out there for the world to see can be daunting at first, but video platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have helped the average person grow to celebrity status, wealth included.
Making your own short videos, whether performing skits to voice overs, dancing to music, handing out your expertise on finances or fashion, or whatever else you have to give to people around the globe, can seem like a great opportunity to show off your creative side and/or build an online empire. TikTok, specifically, has taken the world by storm.
TikTok made its debut in 2016 by the Chinese technology company ByteDance. In 2023, the social media platform boasted more than one billion users spanning 150 countries. While Instagram was for millennials, TikTok users and content creators are predominantly Gen Z and their ability to shoot different angles on their own, edit quick transitions and lip sync perfectly is quite admirable.
Yet, when it comes to creating perfect TikTok videos, one thing creators are still missing in their videos are captions.
What are the benefits of adding TikTok captions?
Adding captions to your TikTok videos is a good idea for two reasons:
- TikTok captions can make your videos accessible to a larger audience, including those with hearing impairments or limitations.
- Captions can also help viewers who want to watch a TikTok video but can’t turn the sound on.
There are four ways to add captions to your TikTok videos–each having its own pros and cons. Below is a dissection of all four:
Add auto-generated captions in TikTok
Adding automatic captions lets the TikTok app process the video’s audio and generates subtitles automatically.
How to do add captions:
- Record or upload a video on TikTok
- Press the captions icon on the right menu (on the video editing screen)
- Wait for TikTok to automatically transcribe the audio to the text
- Voila! You now have captions in your TikTok video.
- You have the option to view and edit the captions by pressing on the pen icon
- Press ‘Save’ and adjust the placement of the captions on the video
Once you’ve made all other edits to your video you can publish.
As simple as it is to add auto-captions, it does come with a few caveats. Firstly, the auto-captions tool is only available in select countries, and therefore, for only a limited number of languages. Secondly, the auto-captions option curbs the freedom to create beautifully designed captions and adding your own flair or branding to them.
Add text to your video in TikTok
This method takes the longest. Before TikTok introduced the auto-captioning tool, many content creators were using this method to transcribe their own videos.
How to add captions:
- Press in the ‘Aa’ icon on the TikTok video editing screen and type out what you want to say and edit the font, color and alignment
- Press ‘Done’ and position the text on the screen by tapping and dragging it
- Edit how long it stays on the screen by tapping the text and pressing ‘select duration’ and drag the red bar to set when during the video you want the text to appear
- Preview how it looks by pressing the play icon
- Once you’re done, press the checkmark icon
- Repeat this process to add more text to your video
Although this process sounds tedious, there are some perks to this captioning method. You keep all your work in the TikTok app which can ease the burden of exporting your video and downloading external apps to add captions. You can also make the text move with the action in the video, emphasize different words and add your own branding.
Use auto-captioning apps like Voicella
Since the auto-captions tool in TikTok supports a limited number of languages, using an external auto-captioning app can help add captions in your audio language. Available on Android, Voicella is free and offers a plethora of language options for captions. Adding them is easy.
How to do add captions:
- Record your TikTok video and download/save it on your phone
- Upload your video to Voicella and select the language of the video
- Edit the words and timing of the text if necessary
- Press the ‘Aa’ button, where you can customize the text with multiple fonts, colors, and sizes
- Export the video and upload it on TikTok
The great thing about many auto-captioning apps, like Voicella, is that they can provide the option to add captions in a different language than the one in your video. So you can have an English video with Spanish subtitles for instance.
Use an online video editor like Veed.io
Veed.io offers a caption tool alongside many other design and editing tools making it a comprehensive all-in-one video editing package. With its built-in speech recognition software, Veed.io can detect and translate a myriad of languages while also allowing you to edit and customize the text. This video editor is available on desktop and mobile.
How to add captions:
- Type in ‘edit.new’ in the URL bar of your browser or go to veed.io
- Upload your TikTok video
- Click on the subtitles icon in the left hand menu and you’re presented with three options
- Automatically add subtitles to the video
- Type your subtitles manually
- Upload a subtitles file in SRT or VTT format
- Click on the styles tab to edit the style of your text with different fonts, spacing and colors
- You can save the project for later or if you’re finished editing, export
- The free version offers an export with a watermark, while the paid version does not
- Upload the video on TikTok
The benefit of using Veeds.io is that you can edit transitions, add other media and filters, and draw among other things. You edit entire TikTok videos with this tool and just upload onto TikTok after you’re done.