5 Reasons Why Video Subtitles And Captions Matter

5 Reasons Why Video Subtitles And Captions Matter

Vlad Davidovich
Creative Animation Strategist

You created a video with a fascinating script, amazing visuals, and great voice acting. Posted it on social media. Added keywords to the title and description. The results are good but not perfect. So how to deal with this and get the most out of the video? The answer is simple: subtitles and captions.

Subtitles and captions benefit by attracting a wider audience and making your content more accessible. And these are not their only advantages. Let’s have a look at five reasons why video subtitles and captions are effective. But first…

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBTITLES AND CAPTIONS


… we’ll define subtitles and captions since they are not the same thing.

Captions

Captions are on-screen text to communicate spoken dialogue and sound effects from the original soundtrack in real time as the video plays. They can be open or closed.

  • Open captions are always visible on screen and cannot be turned off as they are baked in the video. 
  • Closed captions are separately uploaded files, so the person watching the video can turn them on or off. 

Subtitles

Subtitles are translations of video dialogue into other languages. People use them to attract viewers from different parts of the world and increase the audience.

You can use both subtitles and captions if possible. Using this combo, you can be sure that the video will bring the highest return on your effort, time, and money spent. And now, we will give you five arguments for why this is true. 

SO WHY ARE CAPTIONS AND SUBTITLES IMPORTANT?

1. They make video accessible to everyone

Over 5% of the world’s population (~430 million people) require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss. And if you don't use subtitles and captions, you risk losing this large audience.

By adding subtitles and captions to your videos, you make your content inclusive and enlist the support of people with hearing difficulties.

Give serious thought to subtitling and captioning because, as you will see, the deaf community is not the only audience that appreciates this.

2. Not all viewers turn on the audio

There are circumstances where viewers cannot turn on the audio. For example, they are in a public place or just want to scroll through the feed between work in silence. 

According to Digiday, 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. Therefore, a muted video will not make sense with no captions. 

3. Subtitles create global outreach

Although English is the most widely spoken language in the world, not all people speak it well (or don't speak it at all). 

To reach a non-English speaking audience, you can record different audio for other languages. But this is expensive and time-consuming. Creating subtitles is a simpler but no less effective solution. 

Take care of the foreign language audience and offer them subtitles. It is a good opportunity to create a global outreach and make your brand recognizable in many other countries.

4. Captions improve SERP rankings

It is not a secret that we care not only about the quality of the content but also think about SERP and SEO when creating a video. And then subtitles and captions can also do you a favor.

The thing is that Google indexes the closed captions you add to the video. The crawlers index your captions and search for relevant keywords to rank your video in the SERPs. It can be a key factor in how many people find and watch your content.

Note: Google doesn’t index automatically generated and open captions.

5. They engage viewers

According to PLYMedia, viewers watch 91% of subtitled videos to completion. In comparison, only 66% of videos without subtitles are watched to completion. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?

In addition, subtitles and captions have a positive effect on video performance and social reach. Subtitled videos have 15% more shares, 17% better reactions, and 26% more CTA clickthroughs. 

Of course, these are just averages. But if subtitles and captions offer a chance to increase audience interest in content, then it is worth using them.

HOW TO ADD SUBTITLES AND CAPTIONS TO A VIDEO

So, you decided to use subtitles and captions in your video. But how to add them? There are two ways: manually or using generators. Let's take a closer look at both options.

Manually

This option is great for short videos. The idea is quite simple — you listen to audio and transcribe it into text.

You can create captions and subtitles in video editing programs (Adobe Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro, etc.), adding them to the video or exporting them as separate SRT files.

Using generators

You can create manual subtitles for short videos. But what if your video is one hour long? In such cases, it is better to use subtitle generators that you can easily find on the Internet. Let's take a look at some of the most popular generators.

  1. Veed.io

Pros:

  • you don’t need to create an account to start using the service
  • there are three ways of subtitling: automatic subtitle generating, manual typing, or uploading a text file 
  • you can choose the text’s fonts, colors, size, and timings

Cons:

  • a free plan only includes 30 minutes of auto subtitles
  • auto-generated captions and subtitles are not always 100% accurate

  1. Subly

Pros:

  • the service allows to style, edit, and download subtitles
  • a large selection of languages
  • you can try a 7-day trial before picking up a plan

Cons:

  • you need an account to get started
  • no free plan

  1. Maestra

Pros:

  • you can create team-based channels to collaborate with your colleagues
  • the software offers users to format subtitles and create presets
  • more than 75 languages are available for text translation

Cons:

  • an account is required to get started
  • no free plan

All generators work similarly. You upload a video, and the program automatically transcribes the audio, creating subtitles. 

CONCLUSION

Although subtitles and captions may seem like small things, they can have a big effect on how successful your video will be.

Subtitling and captioning take time and practice. But it will help you get an engaged audience and better SERP rankings.

Start practicing subtitles and captions in your videos today. It’s time to get your first benefits!

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