How to Convert Audio to Subtitles

By Stephen Lilley

If you've got an audio file that you'd like to convert to subtitle information, you can do so yourself, using a native Windows text editor called "Notepad." A subtitle computer file (with the extension SRT) is nothing more than a basic text file. All you have to do is sit down and transcribe your audio clip into Notepad using the proper format. When the text file is played along with the audio in a compatible media player, the subtitle information will display on-screen.

Step 1

Right-click on your desktop. Click "New" and "Text Document." A new, blank text document will appear on your desktop. Double-click it to open it in Notepad and display a blank template on screen.

Step 2

Open your audio file in the media player of your choice. Any media program will do, so long as it displays the time played/time remaining of a file. Windows Media Player, a native Windows application, will work just fine.

Step 3

Type "1" at the top of your text document. This indicates that you are about to type the first subtitle in your subtitle file. Later on when you type the next subtitle in your subtitle file, you will use "2" at this point, and then "3," and then so on in sequence.

Step 4

Skip a line in your text document and type the timecodes for the start time and the end time of the clip in your subtitle. For example, if you play the clip (do so at this time) and determine that a particular subtitle needs to be on screen between "00:01:50" (hours, minutes, seconds) and "00:01:51", you would type "00:01:50 -> 00:01:51" (without quotes) into the subtitle file.

Step 5

Skip another line in your text document and type the actual words that are to be used for the subtitle being displayed on screen. Listen to the audio file and transcribe exactly the words that are being played at a particular moment.Once you have completed steps 3 through 5, you will be left with an entry in your subtitle file that resembles this (without quotation marks):"100:01:50 -> 00:01:51This is the subtitle text that will be displayed on screen."

Step 6

Repeat steps 3 to 5 for every other line you need subtitles for in your audio clip. This requires you to listen to the entire clip and transcribe every spoken line into Notepad.

Step 7

Click "File" > "Save As" in Notepad when you're done transcribing your audio. Click "All Types" from the "File Type" drop-down menu. Name your subtitle file "[filename].srt" (without quotes), and replace the "[filename]" with the actual name you'd like to give the file. This will create a perfect subtitle file that can be used in conjunction with your audio file.