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How To Extract Subtitles from MKV Files in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 21

In this tutorial, we will be discussing how to extract subtitles from MKV files in Ubuntu. This can be a useful task when you want to manipulate subtitles or translate them. We will be using a command-line tool called mkvextract, which is part of the mkvtoolnix package.

Quick Answer

To extract subtitles from MKV files in Ubuntu, you can use the command-line tool mkvextract from the mkvtoolnix package. First, install mkvtoolnix using the command sudo apt-get install mkvtoolnix. Then, identify the track number of the subtitle track using mkvmerge -i <filename>. Finally, use the mkvextract tracks command to extract the subtitle track by specifying the track number and the desired output file.

Installing mkvtoolnix

The first step is to install mkvtoolnix. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install mkvtoolnix

This command uses the apt-get package manager to download and install mkvtoolnix. The sudo keyword is used to run the command with root privileges.

Identifying the Track Number

Before we can extract the subtitles, we need to identify the track number of the subtitle track in the MKV file. This can be done using the mkvmerge -i <filename> command. For example:

mkvmerge -i some_movie.mkv

This command will display information about the tracks in the MKV file. The output will look something like this:

Track ID 0: video (MPEG-4p10/AVC/h.264)
Track ID 1: audio (AC3)
Track ID 2: subtitles (SubRip/SRT)

In this example, the subtitle track has the track ID 2. The track type (SubRip/SRT) indicates the format of the subtitle track.

Extracting the Subtitle Track

Once we have the track number of the subtitle track, we can use the mkvextract tracks command to extract the subtitle track. The syntax is as follows:

mkvextract tracks <your_mkv_video> <track_number>:<subtitle_file.srt>

For example, to extract the subtitle track with track number 2 from the file “some_movie.mkv” and save it as “some_movie_subs.srt”, you would run the following command:

mkvextract tracks "some_movie.mkv" 2:some_movie_subs.srt

In this command, tracks is the command that tells mkvextract to extract tracks from the MKV file. <your_mkv_video> is the name of your MKV file, <track_number> is the track number of the subtitle track, and <subtitle_file.srt> is the name of the file where the extracted subtitles will be saved.

Conclusion

Extracting subtitles from MKV files in Ubuntu can be easily done using the mkvextract tool from the mkvtoolnix package. By identifying the track number of the subtitle track and using the mkvextract tracks command, you can save the subtitles to a separate file for further use.

Remember to check the track type using mkvmerge -i <filename> and adjust the file extension accordingly when saving the extracted subtitles. This will ensure that the subtitles are in the correct format and can be used with other software or media players.

What is an MKV file?

An MKV (Matroska Video) file is a multimedia container format that can hold multiple audio, video, and subtitle tracks in a single file.

How can I check if the `mkvtoolnix` package is already installed on my Ubuntu system?

You can check if the mkvtoolnix package is already installed by running the command dpkg -s mkvtoolnix in the terminal. If the package is installed, you will see information about the package. If it is not installed, the command will display an error message.

Can I extract multiple subtitle tracks from an MKV file?

Yes, you can extract multiple subtitle tracks from an MKV file by specifying multiple track numbers in the mkvextract tracks command. For example, mkvextract tracks "some_movie.mkv" 2:some_movie_subs.srt 3:some_movie_subs_2.srt will extract the subtitle track with track number 2 and save it as "some_movie_subs.srt", and extract the subtitle track with track number 3 and save it as "some_movie_subs_2.srt".

Can I extract subtitles from other video file formats?

No, the mkvextract tool is specifically designed to extract tracks from MKV files. If you have a different video file format, you may need to convert it to MKV format before using mkvextract to extract the subtitles.

How can I view the extracted subtitles?

Extracted subtitles are typically saved in the SubRip/SRT format, which is a common format for subtitles. You can view the extracted subtitles using a text editor or a dedicated subtitle viewer software.

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