After you create an Amara account, you can start creating subtitles in the Amara Editor. This article will show you how to start subtitles for videos already on Amara.


View the Activity tab for your Amara account page to see a list of the subtitles you work on as you contribute to Amara videos. You can also follow these steps to add videos to Amara yourself from video hosting sites.



For a video in Amara’s public workspace, click on the Add/Edit subtitles button under the video card to start subtitles. Please only create subtitles in languages in which you are at a native or fluent level.


You can also click on the video to view more information before you start subtitling. Click the Add/Edit subtitles button to the right of the video to start subtitles:


Highlighted Add/Edit subtitles button on an Amara video page.


When you start subtitles, you have to select the subtitle language from a dropdown list. If someone else has already created subtitles in your language, you will see a link to edit the subtitles in the dialog box.


Languages are listed by their ISO 639 language code (for example, 'en' for English, 'zh-cn' for Chinese Simplified, 'de' for German). You can search for languages or language codes in the dropdown menu.


Important: If you are unsure what ISO code the desired language has or have trouble finding a particular language in the list, you can search in the list of  languages supported on Amara.


To start subtitling the video:

  1. Press TAB key to play or pause the video

  2.  Press ENTER key to add a new subtitle cell:


Active subtitle cell in the Amara Editor with a cursor and the message Type a subtitle and press Enter.


  1. Start typing along with the video.


Active subtitle cell with subtitle text that says Subtitles make videos more accessible.


  1. The flyout on the right  of the subtitle will show the number of characters in the current line. If a line is too long, press SHIFT+ENTER to insert a line break:


Subtitle cell with too many characters in one line with the cursor in the middle of the text.

Subtitle cell in Amara Editor with new line break to fix the character per line limit warning.


  1. To start a new subtitle, press the ENTER key:


A second active subtitle cell created by hitting the Enter key in the Amara editor


  1. If you need to take a break, click the Save Draft button in the top right corner before exiting


Changes saved dialog box


  1. When you are done with typing, click Yes, start syncing button on the right side to sync your subtitles to the timing of the video. While syncing:

    • Press TAB to play or pause the video

    • Press DOWN ARROW key when the subtitle should start

    • Press UP ARROW key when subtitle should end

  2. When all the lines are synced, click Start reviewing button

  3. After you've replayed the subtitled video and made sure that everything looks right, click Publish button on the right panel


Congratulations! Your subtitles are finished and marked as complete. After clicking Publishyou will be taken to your subtitle's page where you can view your revisions.


Typically, you would only see a few subtitle cells at one time in the editing panel and the reference panel at the bottom of the Amara Editor.


To view other subtitle cells, you can navigate up and down your subtitle set in two different ways:


1. Scroll with your mousewheel or with the scrollbar

2. Use keyboard shortcuts

  • ALT + ARROW UP keys to move up

  • ALT + ARROW DOWN to move down


Please note that you can navigate both panels (reference and editing) at the same time, or just the editing panel by itself. This depends on the status of scroll lock button in the editor:


Scroll lock button between the reference and editing panels.


If the reference panel is locked (as in the screenshot above), both panels will move together as you scroll. If the reference panel is unlocked, only the editing panel will move.


The most common keyboard shortcuts appear in the top left of the Amara Editor for typing and syncing modes. Click the more commands >> link to view advanced keyboard shortcuts for jumping forward and backward in the video. 



Edit title and description

If necessary, you can edit the title and description for a video. Click the pencil icon next to the video title at the top of the page:


Edit title and description button (pencil icon) highlighted with a pink arrow in the top of the Amara Editor.


After you edit the title or description, click the Done button to close the dialog. Make sure that you save your changes before exiting the Amara Editor.


Subtitle Tools

The Subtitle Tools icon is located above the subtitles you are editing in the middle panel of the Amara Editor. Click the wrench icon to view the available actions in a drop-down menu:


Subtitle tools (wrench icon) dropdown menu open and highlighted in the Amara Editor.


Delete empty subtitles 

Deletes all subtitles that do not contain characters. Use this feature to delete all empty subtitles in one click so that you can save or publish them. If you try to save a subtitle set that has empty subtitles, you will see an error message.

Clear text  

Erases all the text from the subtitles in the editing (middle) panel, without deleting subtitle cells or synchronization timing. You can only clear text from the version you are currently editing. Earlier versions of these subtitles will not be affected.

Revert to last saved version  

Discards all edits that you made after the last time you saved your subtitle draft and loads the last saved version into the editor. This action is irreversible. When you confirm your choice to revert to the last saved version you cannot recover the edits that you discarded.  

Upload subtitles  

Open a pop-up window where you can select a subtitle file to upload. You can choose files in DFXP, SRT, SSA, SBV, TXT, or VTT format to upload into the Amara Editor. If you have any unsaved changes prior to uploading, those changes will be discarded and permanently lost. 

Hide / Show warnings  

Hide or show the red exclamation marks and related warning messages in subtitles that violate subtitling guidelines. Review subtitling guidelines (the maximum character number per line, subtitle duration, or reading speed) by clicking the Subtitling Guidelines >> link in the Keyboard controls panel in the Amara Editor.  

Show tutorial  

Shows the tutorial overlay which labels the important areas of the Amara Editor, including the reference panel, editing panel, and progress panel. Click anywhere on the page to close the tutorial.  


Tutorial overlay in Amara Editor with three sections noted: reference, editing, and progress panels.

Video Settings Menu

The video settings menu can be displayed by clicking on the gear icon on the video playback bar:

Video playback bar with gear icon highlighted.

Video playback bar with gear icon.

Video Settings menu:

Video settings menu showing Playback Mode, Playback Speed, and Enter Fullscreen.

Video settings menu showing Playback Mode, Playback Speed, and Enter Fullscreen.

Through the video settings menu you can adjust:  

  • Playback Mode (Amara Free and Amara Teams)  

  • Playback Speed (Amara Teams only)

  • Toggle the video into full screen and back (Option+Enter on Mac or Alt+Enter on Windows)

Playback Speed

  • Playback Speed is a premium feature and is only available for teams.

  • Playback Speed can be changed during typing, syncing, or reviewing/endorsing. 

Playback Mode

  • Playback Mode is available for all users.

  • Playback Mode is only available during the typing step (the feature will be greyed out when syncing or reviewing/endorsing). If necessary, click on 1. Type what you hear in the upper right section of the editor to return to the typing step:

The section in the editor 1. Type what you hear highlighted.  Click here to be able to change Playback Mode.

If necessary, click on 1. Type what you hear to be able to change Playback Mode.

  • Click on the circled question mark for more detailed descriptions of the different Playback Modes:

Video settings menu with circled question mark highlighted.

Popup box detailing different Playback Modes.

Popup box detailing different Playback Modes.





Thank you for your contributions to support an inclusive and accessible media ecosystem!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please share your feedback!

  • To submit a quick ticket, click No in the Did you find it helpful link below.