I wrote this tutorial for work. The original post can be found here: https://blogs.princeton.edu/hrc/2010/06/how_to_burn_subtitles_into_a_video_file.html
For this tutorial, you will need the video and an .srt file (text file that contains the subtitles). There are programs that help you create .srt subtitle files from scratch if it’s a video you created yourself (or if a subtitle does not exist online). Subtitle workshop is a good tool to use: http://www.urusoft.net/products.php?cat=sw&lang=1
Once you created your .srt file, you will need a program to put the video file and the .srt file together. If you burned the file into a DVD format (menus and plays in DVD player), you will need to rip the DVD. Handbrake is a good tool for that task. The other software we used was FFMPEGX for Mac (there is a version for Windows). Here’s the steps we took to burn the subtitles (you can’t turn burned subtitles off) into the video.
1. Open FFMPEGX.
2. Drop the video file into the first window on the left.
3. Choose the file format you want to save the file with the burned in subtitles. FFMPEGX only gives you a few options that will allow you to add the .srt file and burn it in. AVI works pretty well and there is an option you can choose in .mp4 (H.264).
5. Click on Filters. Check the box next to VOB Subtitles. Set track number to 1. Make sure Burn is selected. Under that, click on the Load subs button. Find your .srt file, select it, and click OK. You can also change the font type and size of the subtitles under the previous settings.
6. Click the Encode button.
Depending on the video/file size, it may take a while to burn the subtitles into the file.
Update (Alternative to using Handbrake): If you want to rip high quality video from the DVD , you can use the program called Mac The Ripper. Once you have the VOB files, you can use another program called MPEG Streamclip to combine all the VOB files into one file. I saved it as a DV file. I then brought the DV file into FFMpegX and converted it into an mp4 using the steps above to burn the subtitles into the file.