Social Media

How To Add Closed Captions To TikTok Videos

The annoying way, the way you have to pay for, and the free way.

by Kaitlyn Wylde
Originally Published: 
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If you prefer to watch TikToks without trying to explain to people in earshot what is always essentially an inside joke between you and internet, you know why full accessibility features are clutch for optimal enjoyment. Figuring out how to add closed captioning on TikTok videos is crucial for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and supremely valuable for people who are trying not to wake their partner at 4 a.m. You’ll find that videos that have subtitles provide the full experience of the app, and wonder why creators didn’t start adding closed captions sooner.

Because TikTok does not yet have an automated closed captioning function, creators have to input the text themselves. While it might sound grueling, there are a few easy ways to add closed captioning to your videos and help make them accessible. What’s more, you might have a better chance of getting more views and engagement on your video if you do add text, as so many people will be flipping through TikTok sans sound, and if they can enjoy your video without it, they might be more likely to watch it. (While the TikTok algorithm is a bit of a mystery, some users believe that videos with subtitles are more likely to appear on the For You Page.)

Here are a few ways to add closed captioning to your TikTok videos.

Add Closed Captions To TikTok Manually

First record or upload your video, select it, then tap the checkbox in the bottom right corner. Next, tap the “text” button at the bottom of the screen to manually add in your captions. You can customize font, style, alignment, and color. Once you’ve typed the caption out, you can drag it to where you want it to appear on the screen, and then determine when you want it to appear by tapping the text box, then the clock icon in the upper right corner.

You will then see “duration” at the bottom of the screen, and you can move the slider above it to assign the caption to a timestamp. You’ll have to guesstimate when you want each new text slide to appear by looking at thumbnail screenshots of your video in the slider, but you can tap “play” to preview the video and see how it looks before you publish it.

You’ll have to go through this input process over and over again throughout the video to sync captions to visuals, but it’s worth it especially if your video is relies heavily on dialogue for entertainment.

Download A Third Party App To Add Subtitles To TikTok Videos

TikTok allows you to upload videos that are already saved to your camera roll. So if you had a video that was run through a third-party transcription service that had subtitles saved to it, you could simply upload that video. While this is much faster and easier than manually putting in subtitles, it’s not free. Rev is one subtitle and transcription service that charges $1.25 per minute and can take up to 24 hours to complete. To use this service, go to, upload your video or post the URL to the TikTok link if you don’t have it saved to your camera roll and select “burned in captions” so that the captions are a part of the video, i.e. cannot be turned on and off. Over the next few hours, a team of freelancers will transcribe your video and add subtitles in, flipping back to you a video that you can upload directly onto TikTok.

Use Instagram Threads To Add Closed Captioning To TikTok Videos

If you want to use a third-party service, but don’t want to pay and prefer to use a trusted site, run your video through Instagram Threads. The free app automatically creates subtitles for your video, which you can save to your photo roll from Instagram, then re-upload to TikTok.

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