Creating, correcting, and improving external subtitle files as a process prior to add them to your favorite movies can be either a stressful or a rewarding mission, mainly depending on which app you use to perform that task. Subtitle Edit is one of these apps, and it falls on the “rewarding” category for two reasons – it is an open source tool (hence, a free tool) and it comes with all the subtitle-related features and functions you can dream of.
It allows you to create new subtitles from scratch, using the soundtrack, and/or the video stream of the movie as a reference. Or you can load an existing SRT, SUB, STP, AQT, XML, or TXT file (to name but a few) and use the program’s plethora of tools to polish, correct, enhance, translate, and synchronize the subtitles it contains until they match perfectly the dialogue of the movie they refer to. You can view your subtitles either as they appear in the source file or as a list, which includes extra useful information, such as a duration of each line of text.
Without going through all the nuts and bolts of Subtitle Edit’s functionality, I will highlight those features that I have always missed in other similar free tools and that have made my life easier. Adjusting the duration of the subtitles more or less automatically is not exclusive to this tool – it’s the other smaller tools around it that makes it different. You can apply a minimum and a maximum duration to all subtitles, and all those falling outside this range will be fixed automatically. Those that the program cannot fix will be flagged accordingly for manual processing. Besides, the program will also show you all those subtitles that are too close to each other to be read properly, and will allow you to fix them in the most appropriate way.
Those common spelling and typing mistakes that we always find in subtitle files can also be fixed automatically, and in one single operation, using Subtitle Edit. The program can remove unnecessary spaces or periods, line breaks in short sentences, add uppercase letters after periods, remove empty lines or unused line breaks, fix missing brackets, fix long subtitles, and so on and so forth. The list is quite extensive, and it covers all typos you can think of. Alternatively, you can enhance your subtitles by merging short lines manually, and the program will merge the corresponding display times automatically.
The subtitle translation using Google Translate is another major asset of this app. This won’t produce perfect subtitles, but that is precisely what the program’s long list of fixing tools is for. Finally, you can check your subtitles using the sync tool, which will show you how they look on the screen and will give you the chance to perform minor corrections on the fly.
Open source, extensive functionality, intuitive synchronization tools... Any way you look at it, Subtitle Edit is an outstanding subtitle editor.