Subtitles are textual versions of dialog, commentary and noises within a movie or other video stream. Subtitles can in some cases be pulled out of movie files and also merged into them. There are software tools specifically focused on creating or utilizing subtitles, and also general video editing programs and utilities that have subtitle functionality built in.

Subtitle Types

Subtitles come in different types and formats. There are two general forms of subtitles -- hard coded (also known as open) and closed. Hard coded subtitles cannot be turned off or changed by the viewer. This type is irreversibly merged into the video stream itself, so it requires no special player or software to view. This type also only allows for one language. Closed subtitles can be turned on or off, and can come with multiple language options. This type is a separate video frame which is overlaid on the original frame while playing; it requires player support to work correctly. This is the common subtitle type of DVDs and Blu-rays. There is a third type, a "soft coded" subtitle, which uses a separate text markup file and also requires player support.

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter is a free video converter program which also has fairly extensive subtitle support. The program can convert subtitled video files and movies into other formats or to other devices. This program can also merge external subtitles files into a movie file. It supports a couple of subtitle formats. There is also a separate subtitle specific addon package, the Freemake Subtitles Pack, for changing subtitle size or font. This program works on Windows XP through Windows 8.

AutoGK

With AutoGK you can add hard coded subtitles into a video file and convert it into different formats. AutoGK supports many different video and subtitle formats. You select the input file, external subtitle file and video output file, then optionally configure output file size and other parameters. The program uses the "Ctrl-F8" keyboard combo to bring up subtitle loading and "Ctrl-F9" for advanced options. AutoGK is freeware and is available for Windows.

VirtualdubMOD & VobSub

VirtualdubMOD is a combined version of three separate forks of the popular Virtualdub video editing software. VobSub is a subtitle filter plugin which works with VirtualdubMOD and many other video players. With this program and plugin together, you can add hard coded subtitles into a video file, and also perform conversion to different types of output files. This program supports most of the subtitle formats commonly supported by other video editing programs. VirtualdubMOD and VobSub are both free Windows programs.