How to Upload Vimeo Captions

May 24 2022 Laura Swanson
two hands holding up a smartphone with the vimeo app loading with a desk and camera in the background

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Streaming video content has become the new norm. Everywhere you look there seems to be a new channel or service you can subscribe to in order to watch almost anything, on almost any topic, almost anywhere. Online tools like Vimeo, a video hosting service, make it easier than ever for someone to create and distribute videos online. But along with the rise of online videos has come a rise in demand for accessible video content, especially videos that are captioned or, at least, include transcripts. This may seem like an intimidating initial request for a channel just in its beginning stages, but Vimeo captioning is a straightforward process if you know where to start. So whether you’re a streaming video novice or an old-guard pro, our step-by-step below will walk you through the whole process of how to upload Vimeo captions.

What is Vimeo and does Vimeo have closed captioning?

How to add captions to Vimeo.

What about live closed captioning?

Why should I caption?


What is Vimeo and does Vimeo have closed captioning?

As noted above, the short answer is that Vimeo is a video hosting and sharing platform. It includes features like live-streaming and customization, but, unlike other platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo  follows the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model meaning that it charges for features on a tiered system but offers an ad-free experience for both creators of the videos and the audiences they are shared with. The platform includes tools to help users through the entire process of creating content and distributing it. Everything from editing to broadcasting is included, helping even the smallest of operations easily create professional-grade videos and distribute them to viewers around the world.

Given the tools the platform boasts and the ad-free experience, more and more businesses have found it an attractive option for marketing and employee communication. Features like Vimeo’s video libraries, which allow teams to organize and share videos quickly, and Vimeo events, which enable teams to produce and promote virtual events with ease, have increased interest in the platform for business purposes.

The short answer as to whether Vimeo has closed captioning is “yes”. Fortunately, like YouTube, Twitch, and other high-profile streaming platforms, Vimeo allows content creators to add captions. So whatever your reasons for using the platform, or considering using it, accessibility should still be a priority. Below, we detail step-by-step, how to add captions to Vimeo.


How to add captions to Vimeo

Making your video accessible couldn’t be easier. Below is the step by step of how to add captions to Vimeo.

  • Create your video

    This seems obvious, but it is step one. More than creating your video, think about how you craft your video. Even if your video is live, surely there’s a script, or at least bullet points of particular things you want to convey with your video. This can help with the creation of Vimeo closed captioning.

  • Caption your video

    This also may seem obvious, but what kind of captioning company would we be if we didn’t talk about captioning? As with other platforms, you can do this yourself, but if your video is lengthy, includes a lot of crosstalk or fast-moving discussion, music, or sound effects, the process will take much longer for someone who is not a professional captioner. You can use Vimeo’s live captioning software, but as these captions are automated, they may not provide the best results, especially if your video contains all of the above listed things that can reduce caption quality. Using a captioning service provider can help you to meet your project deadlines, ensure quality, and ensure adherence to FCC and ADA guidelines. Click the links to find out more about VITAC’s captioning and transcription offerings.

  • Upload your video file

    Once you have finished recording your video, upload it to your Vimeo library. If you use the record feature within Vimeo, your video will already be available on the platform.

  • Upload your caption file

    If you work with a quality captioning provider, they should be able to provide you with a caption file in the filetype you need. For Vimeocaptioning, this means a .SRT file. If your provider does not ask you to specify your needed file type, you should be able to request it when placing your order for captions. If you choose to create your own Vimeo captions, you will need to make sure you save your caption file as a .SRT file.

    Vimeo captions are referred to in the Vimeo dashboard as “Vimeo Subtitles”. Once you have your .SRT caption file, select the video you want to add captions to and navigate to the subtitles section of the distribution tab. There you’ll be able to add captions to Vimeo and select your language.

image displaying Vimeo upload interface with the distribution tab image displaying Vimeo upload interface with the subtitles tab

What about live closed captioning?

The above process describes how to upload closed captions for a prerecorded video, but what if you’re looking to utilize Vimeo’s Video Events feature? For that you’ll need live captioning.

You can obtain live captions either by using a software or service. In the same way you would order captions for prerecorded content from a caption provider, you can work with a captioning provider in advance to set up live closed captioning for your video event. Click here to learn more about our Vimeo closed captioning service and all our live captioning services for conferences and events.

Why should I caption?

All of the above may make the process of captioning your videos sound time-consuming and difficult. And you you may be wondering if you should caption your video at all. But it’s important to remember that accessibility requirements have gotten stricter for online and streaming videos. Captions also provide another way for your media to be found. Captions broaden your video’s reach, in the following ways:

  • Accessibility

    No captions means viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing can’t follow your video and are much less likely to watch.

  • Viewer preference

    Many prefer to use captions, especially in busy or noisy spaces.

  • SEO

    Captions make it more likely people will find your video content on a web search.

Ultimately, captioning is good for your video for a lot of reasons. Captioning often is required, and also benefits all viewers. Creating accessible content helps to create a more accessible and inclusive world, one video at a time.