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CoSome sub subtitling tips for beginner


I tried to subtitle a video and encountered some problems.

  1. I couldn't find any option to save subtitles that were typed in before syncing - is it possible to save them and how if yes?
  2. Also the video, subtitles to which I completed typing in the subtitle editor but couldn't sync was never saved in my profile, so I would like to know how to save videos too.
  3. And finally, instructions for syncing say to hit shift + down arrow key to start a new subtitle. I would like tips, if any, on how to define the starting time for each subtitle. When the speaker begins talking, it means it is a few moment late to insert a subtitle, so how can I get the accurate timing?
Apologies if the first 2 questions have been addressed in help topics, but I would think those options should be obvious in the subtitle editor while they are not. If I can find answers to them in the help section please refer me there.

Thank you.


Hi Irina,

Thank you for your questions: I took the liberty to put them in list form, but haven't otherwise changed your content.

About questions 1 and 2: there is a "Save Draft" button top right in the editor: see 20. in The Anatomy of the Subtitle Editor [*]. You can save your work with this button at any moment, and exit the editor or carry on working on it. If you save your work and exit, the fact you've been working on the subtitles will show in the Activity tab of your profile.

About question 3: the official instruction about hitting shift + down arrow key while letting the video play continuously might be OK for folks with nerves of steel but like you, I've never managed to get an accurate syncing this way. So there are two ways around this:
  1. You accept some degree of inaccuracy during the syncing stage, then correct things using the time line during the reviewing stage.
  2. You stop the video (Tab key) at the end of the subtitle, do shift + up arrow to set its ending time code, restart the video with Tab and do shift + up arrow to set the time-code for the start of the new subtitle. It is slower than per the official instruction, but more relaxed, and it simplifies the reviewing stage.

Back to your experience of unsaved subtitles: if you re-enter the editor with the same browser and no one has edited your subtitles in the mean time, you will probably get a message saying "You have an unsaved backup", with a "Discard" and a "Restore" button  (see tutorial for a screenshot). Hitting Restore should salvage most of your previous work, but hit Save Draft to make sure to keep it!

Happy subtitling!

Claude Almansi

[*] Update: I have corrected the link to the tutorial; the former one worked and was identical, but it was part of the knowledge base for subtitling within vimeo, which has now been discontinued, so I don't know how long this sub knowledge base will remain online

Thank you very much for the answers, Claude! Another question that came up is, how do I know the start and end of a subtitle? They are not always complete phrases, and sometimes start or end in the middle of a sentence. Is there a place I get to see each subtitle, as I had typed it, during the syncing stage?


Hi Irina,

Your synced subtitles are visualized in the time-line - #10. in The Anatomy of the Subtitle Editor - where you can adjust them by dragging their edges, which is more precise than using shift + arrow keys.

If your hand slips when doing such an adjustment and you are under the impression you have messed up severely, Save draft nonetheless and Exit, then re-enter the editor: most often, the error is not as bad as it seemed, but if it is, exit again and use the revision tab of the subtitles to revert ("roll back") to the former revision.

Useful key combination when you are reviewing your work: Shift+Tab take you back 2 seconds.

Last thing: it takes a little while for your fingers to master all these commands, but don't worry, they'll soon become reflexes :)

Happy holidays and happy further subtitling,



I could subtitle a short video today! Using tab and shift+up proved to be an invaluable advice, thank you so much! After I viewed the published video, I decided I did not like a few moment in translation, and would like to make some small corrections to it. So, is it possible to edit subtitles of a published video?


Congratulations, Irina!

Yes, you can edit subtitles at any time on Amara, even after having marked them "complete".  There is one exception: if the video has been added to a team with workflowed tasks, like the TED team. There, when you declare a translation task complete, the subtitles move on to someone else for a further reviewing task, and then to someone else for the final approval task. But for all other videos, you can intervene in subtitles at any time. However, if I find an error in someone else's subtitles, I tend to rather message them about it, rather than directly intervening, lest I might hurt their feelings ;)

Happy holidays



If hit start syncing button while editing, will the subtitles appear on the timeline the way I already synced them?


Yes, Irina: that's the point of the timeline-


Hi Claude,
One more question: the second video I subtitled and published does not show in Videos in my profile. Why could that be? Thank you for all the answers, hope you had a wonderful Christmas.



Hi Irina,

in the case of "Your cat is judging you", you indeed were the first to put the YouTube URL in the Subtitle Video form. So it appears in the Videos tab of your profile.

Whereas in the case of "Get Motivated In 60 Seconds", someone else - Karamatic - had already created the Amara page for it. So when you tried to create the Amara page via the Subtitle Video form, you actually landed on the already existing page. This is why it does not appear in the Videos tab of your profile.

However, the Russian subtitles you made for both videos are listed in the Activity tab of your profile.

I hope this explanation is comprehensible?




Yes, thank you. One final question I got, is, is it possible to merge 2 subtitles into 1? How if yes?


Thanks again for a very relevant question, Irina. To my knowledge, you can't do that with a specific Amara function. When I need to do that, I copy the content of the second subtitle and paste it into the first, then I delete the second subtitle and adjust the end time code of the remaining subtitle.
I tried to delete a subtitle with delete key and it didn't work. Is there a key combination for deleting a subtitle?


Hi Irina,

You can delete a subtitle via the tools menu of a subtitle cell or with a keyboard shortcut: see "3. Wrench icon" in the Subtitle Cell tutorial:

"(...) Delete subtitle [i.e. the icon with an x in a circle]- permanently deletes the subtitle cell. Keyboard shortcut: ALT+DELETE or ALT+BACKSPACE (Windows, Linux), OPTION+DELETE or OPTION+BACKSPACE (Mac OS X)"

Actually, I've never tried the keyboard shortcuts, though.

Best wishes for this 2017



Thank you for all your help, Claude! Happy 2017


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