Simple and open source applications to create subtitles


Subtitle file in .SRT format

Continuing with this series of articles where we are listing the least complicated of the video production apps, let's take a look at subtitle editors.. It is an area in which we can count on a wide range of options.

Of course, if you're good at timing, you can use any of the text editors that come with the distributions. Linux to create and edit the subtitles. You just have to save them in the proper format. But, the editors come with specific features that make the job easier.

Some popular subtitle formats

Although all subtitle files have in common a time code and the text they display andThere are differences between them that make them not all compatible with all video players. The most common formats are:

  • SRT (SubRip): It is the most widespread format and the first one you should try as it is the most likely to work with your programs. It only consists of the sequence number, the time code and the text. Does not support subtitle customization.
  • WebVTT (Web Video Text Tracks): Uses the .VTT extension and is intended for HTML 5 video players. Supports extensive customization options. It is compatible with all major video platforms.
  • TTML (Timed Text Markup Language): It has more professional use both in the television industry and streaming services than at home. It is highly customizable and is used with audio streams as well.
  • SSA (SubStation Alpha): It is a format that allows several graphic customization possibilities. Widely used for anime subtitles.
  • EBU-STL: Another option for the industry. It has limitations on the amount of text to display but allows customization.
  • EBU-TT: It is a mix between broadcast TV formats and digital subtitle formats. It is used to easily distribute, archive and transmit text data in various video streams.

Formats compatible with social networks

  • Twitter: SRT.
  • TikTok: Manual entry.
  • Instagram: Automatic generation.
  • Facebook: SRT.
  • Linkedin: SRT.
  • Snapchat: SRT and VTT.

Formats supported by video hosting platforms

  • Youtube: Among others Srt, vtt, sbv, sub, ttml, rt and scc.
  • Vimeo: srt, vtt, dfxp, tml, scc and sami.
  • Dailymotion: SRT

Simple and open source applications to create subtitles


It is perhaps the most used tool and comes by default in Ubuntu Studio, the distribution for multimedia production.  It is useful for editing, transforming, refining and correcting existing subtitles. By using sound waves it makes it easy to match subtitles with voices.

Work with MPL2, MPSub, Adobe Encore DVD, BITC, MicroDVD, SubViewer 2.0, SBV, SubRip, Spruce STL, Substation Alpha, Advanced Substation Alpha and plain text formats.

Other options are waveform generation, keyframing, automated spell checking, style editing, time shifting, translation, sorting, scaling, subtitle stitching, and error correction.

The program It is available in the repositories of the main Linux distributions.

GNOME Subtitles (GNOME Subtitle)

As its name indicates, it is the tool GNOME desktop subtitle editor.

Some of its characteristics are:

  • Synchronization using two control points within the video.
  • Distribution fitting using two control points.
  • Drag and drop files.
  • Preview of the subtitles in the video.
  • Support for subtitle translation.
  • WYSING edition of the format of the subtitles.
  • Multi language support.
  • Work with Adobe Encore DVD, Advanced Sub Station Alpha, AQ Title, DKS Subtitle Format, FAB Subtitler, Karaoke Lyrics LRC, Karaoke Lyrics VKT, Mac Sub, MicroDVD, Mplayer 1 and 2, Panimator, Phoenix Japanimation Society, Power DivX, Sofni, SubCreator 1.x, SubRip, Sub Station Alpha, SubViewer 1.0, SubViewer 2.0, ViPlay Subtitle File.

GNOME Subtitle is in the repositories of all major Linux distributions.

These are just two of the many options available for editing subtitles. In the repositories you will find many more. The advice is the same as always. Try them all and keep the one that works for you 

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  1.   Jesus said

    Greetings and thanks for publishing the programs to subtitle, but I want to add a couple of things for its due correction, Subtitle Editor is not the correct name, it should be Subtitle Edit and to use it in some Linux distribution you should have mono installed, since Subtitle Edit is made with .NET

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Hello Jesus: Actually it is a different program and I was wrong when I put the link
      The correct one is this
      Thanks for letting me know.