Convert Script to Subtitles

In this case we are going to add an English subtitle file to an existing video which is in the Russian language. Since my own Russian skills are limited, the work I can do for this task is the mechanical task of arranging the translated text file so that it can be used as the basis for a subtitle file, saving it in this format, and then uploading its corresponding video on YouTube so that the subtitles can be adjusted by a person in the community who has the necessary language skills to do this task. The YouTube subtitle editor is graphically oriented, so this first task is very useful in that it allows someone who has fewer technical skills to continue the work while I do something else - this is one of the reason community editing works.

First, we need to edit the original transcript so that each line for the video clip starts off being a reasonable size. I am able to do this with this script because it is in English. From LibreOffice Writer, I open the file (File->Open):

The text is formatted for reading, in block format.

Then save the file immediately so that you keep the original file intact!

Extraneous items need to be removed and each line of text divided so that they are at least approximately in the right place for the video. I just have to try to make sense of how the text is divided, using the punctuation and vocabulary to guide my work.

Once you have completed this for the entire file, save it, making sure that you don't erase the original file. Make sure you save it as a text file (that is, no formatting).

Now bring up the Subtitle Editor (under Video Production -> Subtitle Editor). Import this text file, making sure you check "Blank lines separate subtitles."

You should see all the titles appear in separate lines. If there is a blank line, you probably forgot to check the "Separate Lines" box when you imported. Note that all the times and durations are zeros at this point.

Now save these subtitles in SRT format.

Now get the length of the target video. Look on YouTube, where you already have the target video uploaded, and note the duration:

This video is one hour, forty one minutes and twenty-three seconds. Now return to the Subtitle Editing program. Click in the main editing area and chose Edit->Select All. All of the subtitles should appear dark.

Now from the Timings menu choose Stack Subtitles from Start.

Note that the start and end times are stacked with a zero duration. Now choose Timings->Scale. This will spread out the timings depending on how many characters are in each subtitle.

Note that I subtracted a little time from the end, which makes the last subtitle start one second before the end time I got from the YouTube screen above. Obviously this is not enough, but the subtitle will at least show up. The next step will fix this problem.

Now you can see that the subtitles are stacked with reasonable amounts of time for each one. The last subtitle has too much time (over one minute) but at this point it is close enough to work with. And the durations all are still 0:00 (zero). So now we execute the Timings->Best Fit Subtitles, which will calculate the duration for each title.

Now save the subtitles once again in SRT format.

This task is completed, and the next step is typically to upload the subtitles to YouTube so that they can be adjusted to fit the video. Note that this task could be done locally with the subtitle editor, but doing it on YouTube allows collaborative work to be done by people in other physical locations, which is very important!