Captions and subtitles are proven, cost effective ways to increase the number of views your videos receive and help attract and reach audiences that might not otherwise watch your videos. In this blog we cover the different types of text on screen and why you should consider adding captions and subtitles to your videos.
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Captions vs Subtitles vs SDH
So that we're clear on the terms, we will briefly discuss the differences between captions, subtitles, and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH).
Captions (also commonly called closed captions) relay any audible information necessary to understand the content. This includes: dialogue, non-verbal sounds (yells, sighs, grunts, etc...), sound effects, and musical cues. Captions are written in the same language as the audio spoken in the video and can be seen on TV or YouTube videos that have closed captioning enabled.
Subtitles are similar to captions in that they contain the same audible linguistic content (dialogue/narration); however, subtitles differ from captions in that they exclude non-verbal sounds and are translated for viewers that don't understand the language used in the video. Beyond the dialogue/narration, subtitles also include translations of additional linguistic content such as on-screen titles (signs, newspapers headlines, etc...). Subtitles are common for foreign films screened in movie theaters.
SDH marries the two services of captions and subtitles: SDH contain all the audio elements of captions and all the visual title elements of subtitles. This is common for foreign TV shows available on TV or online streaming services.
For a more in-depth discussion about the differences, please read our previous blog on SDH here.
Captions for Convenience & Comprehension
Now that we know the terms, we can see how helpful captions can be for those that are deaf or hearing impaired. But what is surprising is that many native speakers with no hearing impairments also enjoy captions as well.
In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute. One factor could be that many users, when browsing their Facebook, are in noisy environments like a subway car or bus stop. With or without headphones, it's hard to hear audio in such environments. Other reasons could be that they don't want to disturb others or want to maintain privacy, in which case captions allow them to watch and understand the content of videos without playing audio out loud.
There are some viewers that prefer captions even in the comfort of their own home with speakers at full volume. As mentioned in our blog about why subtitles and captions are awesome, captions can help viewers understand a character with a strong accent or fast dialogue that would otherwise be missed if there were no captions. Not quite sure what that sound was? Captions can also fill in the knowledge gaps for unintelligible sounds.
Non-Native Speakers Love Subtitles & Captions
Does your business have English language video content that you want to use to expand your YouTube presence? If so, know that 60% of YouTube views come from non-English speakers. That's a whole lot of viewers that you may be missing out on if you don't have subtitles for them. Subtitles in different languages help engage non-English speakers with your content and if you or your CEO is speaking, they will help better connect you or your CEO on a personal level to the viewers.
Even non-native English speakers learning English prefer English captions when watching English language videos than without. A large number of English language schools in non-English speaking countries, particularly in East Asia, have an emphasis on teaching reading and writing due to a limited presence of native English speakers. Thus many English language students from these regions can read/write better than they can listen/speak. They're better able to understand English content by reading then by listening; this is especially true for fast dialogue/narration.
At the same time, English captions have been shown to improve English language learners listening comprehension and speaking skills even more so than subtitles in their native language. Thus captions, made originally for the deaf and hard of hearing community, also attract the many non-native English speaking viewers looking to improve their English language skills.
SEO and Social Media Reach
In our last blog, we discussed how subtitles and captions are great for improving the visibility of your website in search results, i.e. search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines cannot watch videos, but they can detect text. Subtitles and captions create text metadata that search engine algorithms look for, thus making it easier for potential customers to find and watch your content, leading to more sales for your company.
Subtitled and captioned videos on social media also see big boosts in views. Captioned videos on Facebook have 16% higher reach than videos without, which means more reactions, shares, and click through. Not only that, videos with subtitles and captions have been shown to keep viewers engaged: 91% of viewers will watch a video with subtitles and captions to completion versus 66% of viewers when watching a video without.
Using Subtitles and Captions Effectively
There are some viewers that believe subtitles can distract from the images on screen. To reach those audiences, companies may want to consider closed captions which can be turned on or off or dubbing their content in another language for non-native speakers.
Auto-captioning available on such sites as YouTube still have a long way to go before becoming accurate. Consider partnering with JBI Studios to help subtitle and caption your content accurately and effectively.
Want to make sure your captions and subtitles come out right?
Click the link below for our free e-book on captioning and subtitling.