All You Need to Know About Closed Captioning

closed captions

When it comes to online video content creations, the more accessible it is to people, the more views you’ll generate. However, hearing disabilities in more than 5% of the world’s population inhibit people from accessing videos. This is where closed captions step in! With proper closed captioning, all videos are accessible to every person in the world.

All You Need to Know About Closed Captioning

Today, the amount of online video content being uploaded in a month is way more than what television produces in the span of three decades. Without captioning translation services your videos, you’re depriving about 360 million people from engaging with your content. So, the question remains:

What is Closed Captioning?

The textual representation of the audial element in a media file is known as ‘Captions’. They are incorporated in videos to make the media accessible for people with hearing impairment or hard of hearing. Here, it is to note that captions that are burned into the video are called ‘Open Captions’, whereas when you can turn on and off captions at your will, primarily through an icon titled “CC”, they are called ‘Closed Captions’.

The text provided by captions provides a time-to-text track for people with hearing disabilities. These captions not only contain what’s being said on screen but also represent the non-speech element like expressional voices.


The textual representation of the audial element in a media file is known as ‘Captions’.  

Closed Caption vs. Subtitles

There are different types of captions, and most people confuse captions with subtitles. Even though people use both of them interchangeably, there’s a big difference between closed captions and subtitles.

Closed captions are created for people with hearing problems; this is why they not only repeat exactly what’s being said on screen but also represent all the non-speech elements as well, making it easier for deaf people to understand.

On the other hand, subtitles assume that the person watching can effortlessly hear what’s going on, on the screen but doesn’t understand the audio language. Subtitles refer to the translation of the audio in the language that the audience understands; it doesn’t contain any non-speech elements of the audio because the person can already hear them.

However, a combined form of closed captions and subtitles created for deaf people are called SDH Subtitles. These are subtitles translated into the language they understand but also include the element of showing non-speech cues used in captions.

closed captions services

Closed Caption vs. Open Caption

You may wonder what’s the main difference between closed captions and open captions. When video creators hand the user control of turning on and off the captions to the audience, they are closed captions. However, when captions is burned in the video with no way of turning them off, they are called live captions.

what are closed captions
  • Closed captions are added as a sidecar file in the videos that can be turned on and off using the icon displaying “CC”. They are usually used in online videos that are watched on the internet. When used in live streaming, it’s referred to as a live caption.
  • Open captions, on the other hand, have no off button and are mostly used in offline videos. They are a permanent part of videos. It all depends on how the creators encode their videos.


Importance of Caption Quality

If your purpose of adding closed captions is to make your video accessible to all people, then the quality and accuracy of your captions matter a lot. When people see that your captions have large discrepancies, you’ll lose more than just the followers who have hearing problems because it becomes very frustrating for people who like to have their captions open.

So, when your caption is full of mistakes, it’s basically inaccessible!

Your captions should:

  • Be Readable
  • Incorporate speaker labels
  • Be 99% accurate
  • Follow WCAG, DCMP, or FCC standards
  • Not hide any important parts of the video content

What do you think 99% accuracy means? Accuracy evaluates the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of the textual content. The industry standard for all video content accuracy is 99% and only gives a 1% error chance, which means that if your video consists of 1000 words, only 10 mistakes are allowed to happen.

Price of Inaccurate Captions

benefits of closed captions

Inaccurate captions cost you a lot in videos. Not only can it be detrimental for your video content following it also leads to a number of issues like:

  • It causes less viewership after every video.
  • It also means more work for you as you have to spend time correcting all the mistakes.
  • Your brand is displayed in a bad light as bad grammar, and obvious mistakes show low credibility.
  • Inaccurate captions also lead to misconceptions and misreadings; for example, if it’s a mistake in educational videos, the students are getting misinformed.

Your online presence is the only face that matters nowadays             

Your online presence is the only face that matters nowadays, so inaccurate captions give the wrong impression, leading you to lose the credibility that can actually cost you millions worth in sales!

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

The Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology uses mechanical processes and automatically transfers what’s being said on the screen onto text scripts. It doesn’t require any human assistance, but ASR never follows standards and is always 80% accurate, meaning they are riddled with mistakes.

Even though it is the fastest yet cheapest form of obtaining captions, you cannot use it in your videos if you want to put out quality content. However, it can still give you the first draft that makes it effortless for you just to fix the mistakes and upload them in your video.

Wrapping Up

Closed Captions are a vital part of your video content if you want it to be accessible to a wide range of audiences. Yes, people with hearing issues will effectively engage with your videos now, but people who have difficulty understanding different accents also like to keep their captions open. So, whether people choose to see your videos with the audio or mute them, they’ll still be able to interpret every word with no problem!