No one has answered so unless someone comes up with a better answer, this is just to say that the best way I found to deal with this problem was finally to download the .SRT to my computer and edit it with a subtitling software where you can type in new fade in and fade out times for the subtitles.
The Amara platform only lets you shrink a caption by a few seconds as the edit screen only displays about 5 seconds of time decrementation.
You can lengthen the time of subtitles to the right as the video plays but can not shrink them to the left very far when the video is playing 'in the other direction' (left to right)
I'm having trouble synchronising a video where there are long silences.
In the second stage, the video explains that you can put in 'silences' later
So sometimes, my original subtitles were maybe a minute long when I only needed them to be maybe 3 seconds long
Now, in the last stage, I can 'shrink' them back but only by one or two seconds (as far as the cursor will let me on the screen) but can't get them to shrink any more.(so they are still far too long)
Is the only solution to export the subtitles to my computer and to deal with them as an SRT file and then upload them again or is there another way to deal with this problem in Amara?
thanks in advance for any help