When you use subtitles and captions in your YouTube video, you allow your viewers to follow your content without having their sound on. This helps with YouTube marketing and leads to better engagement.
Most people think that subtitles and closed captions are similar, but there are a lot of differences between the two. Subtitles are a translation, whereas closed captions are the dialogue’s transcription. Both of them appear as text on your screen’s bottom and are a representation of your speech between the characters on your computer or the television. In fact, Netflix, the most popular streaming company that has the highest standards of subtitles and closed captioning, groups them under the same subtitles heading.
So, what exactly is the difference between the two? It is a confusing topic for many and that’s exactly why we have created this article.
Difference between subtitles and closed captions
Subtitles are used for transcribing spoken words in a video. They are the direct transcriptions of the dialogue in the video. They can be used for understanding people who have heavy accents or when people are watching foreign films. It normally includes the spoken language and doesn’t include any background music and noise.
Captions are transcripts of every auditory movement that is happening in a video including dialogue, non-verbal sounds, description of noise, and background noise in the original video, etc. There are two forms of captions – open and closed. Closed captions can be activated and deactivated while watching a video. Open captions are placed directly on the top and cannot be turned off. Captions have been created for helping those who have trouble hearing while watching videos.
In general, closed captioning is considered better for YouTube videos. It doesn’t get affected by the quality of the video and can be turned off. Also, it is possible to swap them in foreign languages. Open captions can’t be turned off, are placed on the video, and are hard to read if the quality of the video is bad.
Why are subtitles and closed captions important?
Let’s discuss why videos with subtitles or closed captions provide a great viewing experience. It can help you reach a wider audience. Here are some other benefits of using subtitles and closed captions:
Through subtitles, you can make your video accessible. Through this, the viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing will frequently come to your video. It makes your video accessible to all. As a content creator, you need to create content that should be aimed at meeting these demands. Closed captioning will ensure that all your viewers, especially the ones who are hard of hearing, have a better viewing experience. Improved accessibility is one of the most important benefits you will have through subtitles and closed captioning.
This is mainly applicable to subtitles but can be applied to closed captioning as well. By adding them to your video, you can help people who prefer watching a video in a foreign language or are just learning a new language. With closed captioning, viewers can switch between languages.
Search Engine Optimization
Closed captioning can be used for Search Engine Optimization as well. By writing captions, you can help search engines in indexing content for strong keywords and use it to your advantage. Plus, if you provide closed captioning in different languages, your video will get a rank in them as well.
Regardless of whether you prefer subtitles or captions, you can’t deny the role they play in viewer engagement. They draw in people who prefer to watch the video with muted sound and help people retain information better. So, these can be your secret tool in marketing your YouTube videos to a wider audience.