I have several movies and shows, such as Breaking Bad, into which I want to add both soft (optional) subtitles for English, but hard (always on) subtitles for the non-English languages. Is this possible?

All of these files are in mp4 format, and I can find the subtitle files online, or learn to edit them, but have downloaded none yet.

  • Welcome! The short answer is yes, it is possible. But the devil is in the details. What OS? What is your skill level? What's your intended use (this matters technically, but you should also be aware of the legal impact)? Jan 15, 2019 at 4:57
  • Burned-in subtitles suck. Soft subtitles can be easily created by making an SRT or SUB file and using appropriate player. Furthermore, many hardware players recognize these subtitles, you can also upload them on YouTube.
    – Rusty Core
    Jan 15, 2019 at 23:27
  • Michael Liebman I have windows OS, am a complete beginner, and just intend to play them for personal use, on my Xbox or Computer. Rusty Core, I only want to burn in the non-english language bits. Jan 16, 2019 at 5:21

1 Answer 1


You can do this via ffmpeg.exe.

For a guide to installing ffmpeg check the first part of this video here:

For hardsubbing you can check this video here:

Assuming the above is now known: In your specific case you are going to want to make copies of the video stream and then hardsub the copies with the subfile desired. To learn about mapping streams you can read here: https://trac.ffmpeg.org/wiki/Map

All the information is above in those 3 links to get you going with ffmpeg for the purposes needed. If you need help formatting the command for your specific situation please provide a thumbnail of the streams in ur video you want to modify and I can help you with the specifics. Pay close attention to the specific tidbits mentioned in the content above, as there are many traps you can fall into along the way. I'll help you with those though if needed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.