How to Add Captions & Subtitles to Instagram Videos

instagram's logo Instagram's all about captions, but unfortunately not the type of captions we're talking about. Instagram doesn't currently allow publishers to add closed captions to videos. To get around this, you instead must encode or "burn" captions into the video itself before posting on Instagram. Encoding will create open captions -- captions that are always showing. This can be done easily right from within your 3Play Media account. When ordering caption encoding that you plan to use on Instagram, keep in mind that the preferred format for Instagram videos is MP4 and that Instagram will not allow you to post more than 60 seconds per video.   Download the Social Media Video Accessibility Checklist ➡️  

Step 1 – Create or Upload a Video Transcript

Begin by logging into your 3Play Media account.

From the Upload tab at the top of the screen, select the method you are going to use to upload your video – From Computer, From Links, From Linked Account, or Cloud Storage. Next, choose your video and follow the prompts.




Screenshot with Upload Media and Choose Files selected

If you already have a transcript…

If your video already has a transcript, you can simply align that transcript with the video to create open captions.

After uploading your video, select Alignment in Options and follow the on-screen prompts.


Upload window with Alignment ($0.00 per min). I have transcripts to sync to my media files marked under Which service would you like?

If you do NOT have an existing transcript…

You will need to order transcription for open captions.

Upload your video, and select English Transcription and Captioning in Options and follow the on-screen prompts.


You’ll receive an email when transcription is complete.

Upload window with English Transcription and Captioning (default service) marked under Which service would you like?

Step 2 – Order Open Captions

Once your video transcript is ready, click on the file, go to Order > Caption Encoding and select Source w/ Open Captions. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts.


Similarly, if you want to create open captions for an MP4 video you’ve already transcribed in your 3Play Media account, just click on the file, go to Order > Caption Encoding and select Source w/ Open Captions. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts.

You’ll receive an email when the caption encoded video is ready to download.

Screenshot with Order and Caption Encoding selected

Step 3 – Post Your Captioned Video on Instagram

Screenshot of Instagram app with plus sign button at the bottom center.When your caption-encoded video is ready, navigate to the My Files page in your 3Play Media account, select Caption Encodings, and click Download next to your file.

To upload a video to Instagram, first open the Instagram app on your mobile device. Tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. Then select Library at the bottom of the screen and select the video you’d like to share. Once the video uploads, you’re ready to share!

Note: You can’t take or upload videos from a desktop computer.

How to Add Subtitles to Instagram Videos

If you want to add subtitles for other languages to your Instagram videos, submit your video for translation after it’s been transcribed.

To do this, click on your video file from the My Files page.

Select Order > Translation.

Choose the language you want for your subtitles, as well as the style of translation.

Once your translation is complete, navigate to Translations under My Files, and follow these instructions from Step 2 above to encode subtitles into your video, then continue to Step 3 to post your video to Instagram.

Screenshot with Order and Translation selected

Captioning videos makes them accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, and more enjoyable for all. While Instagram may not be quite up to speed, you can take matters into your own hands to post accessible content with this simple workaround.


Don’t think you need captions or subtitles on your video? You do! Take it from actor, Chris Pratt, who learned the hard way (but has since become an advocate for captioning on social media).


Instagram does this thing where it mutes all the videos it shows and forces you to turn on the volume in order to hear them. (maybe because most people are watching those videos at work when they should be working and don’t want to get caught. I know that’s when I do it. ) So when I made a video recently with subtitles, and requested that people turn up the volume and not just “read the subtitles” it was so people wouldn’t scroll past the video on mute, thus watching and digesting the information in the video. HOWEVER, I realize now doing so was incredibly insensitive to the many folks out there who depend on subtitles. More than 38 million Americans live with some sort of hearing disability. So I want to apologize. I have people in my life who are hearing-impaired, and the last thing in the world I would want to do is offend them or anybody who suffers from hearing loss or any other disability. So truly from the bottom of my heart I apologize. Thanks for pointing this out to me. In the future I’ll try to be a little less ignorant about it. Now… I know some of you are going to say, “Hey! Chris only apologized because his publicist made him!” Well. That is not the case. As always I control my social media. Nobody else. And I am doing this because I’m actually really sorry. Apologies are powerful. I don’t dole them out Willy-Nilly. This is one of those moments where I screwed up and here’s me begging your pardon. I hope you accept my apology. And on that note. Why doesn’t Instagram have some kind of technology to automatically add subtitles to its videos? Or at least the option. I did a little exploring and it seems lacking in that area. Shouldn’t there be an option for closed captioning or something? I’ve made them lord knows how much money with my videos and pictures. Essentially sharing myself for free. I know they profit. So… GET ON IT INSTAGRAM!!! Put closed captioning on your app. #CCinstaNow

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Get started adding captions and subtitles to your social media videos today: