One afternoon I was prototyping various mobile designs for Mightyverse user experiences and as a non-technical person, I needed some simple ways to embed videos with subtitles into the UX ideas I was working on. Oddly enough, it seems that Apple disables subtitles when playing back videos embedded in iOS browsers and I was trying to find a work around.
We recently recorded some basic conversation phrases with Becky Z and so using the video for “No, I cannot speak English” in Chinese Mandarin, I created 3 .srt files using the free subtitle creation app called Jubler. Jubler has a relatively simple interface for creating subtitle phrases in a perplexing variety of formats. I chose to make .srt files with UTF-8 encoding. I then took the video into Handbrake and tried muxing the Jubler created .srt files with the video in order to make an MP4 file with subtitle tracks to play on my iPhone. No luck after an hour of playing around.
Then I thought to try adding subtitles to the video in YouTube. Five minutes later I had a linkable, embeddable video with 3 subtitle tracks applied!
The basic steps are:
1. Open Jubler and Choose “New File”
2. Open Jubler and then click the “Closed Eye” icon on the top right of the toolbar.
3. Navigate to your video in the resulting dialogue and select it.
4. Select the part of the waveform to subtitle in the resulting display, then type the corresponding text at the bottom of the frame in the gray area.
5. Save as “SubRip (.srt)” and “UTF-8”.
6. Upload your video to YouTube
7. In the Video Manager, choose the Captions tab for your video (top right of the options)
8. Click the “Upload Caption File or Transcript” button to the right of the video player
9. Choose your .srt file, name it and your done!
The resulting YouTube video still doesn’t show the closed captioning in Safari on my iPhone 5 (with the latest iOS update). It does however play with subtitles in the native Google YouTube app. It’s interesting what Apple feels is superfluous to their users, I wonder that it’s not been more widely criticized, especially for people with hearing impairments. I’d love to hear from people who have figured out a workaround to Apple’s limiting of closed captions on videos played in Safari.