Subtitles vs. Closed Captions (CC): Which is better in 2022?

Creating a barrier-free environment in a virtual space is challenging but never impossible. The improvements catered to persons with disabilities widened over the years. We now see alternative texts on photos, subtitles and closed captions on videos, and contrast adjustments on texts. These “small” features are giant steps in creating an inclusive digital landscape. The internet is and should be for everybody.

Currently, in 2022, videos are the primary source of entertainment. Famous social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Youtube are some of the most visited mobile apps and streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. Those platforms carry videos from all over the world, using various languages and styles. As businesses continue to use these platforms to reach a wider audience, they must be able to cater to multiple languages and cultural bearings their content entails. Companies must reach the hearts of their consumers. To do that, they have to speak their language. According to statistics, 76% of consumers are more likely to pursue a purchase decision if they see it in their native language.

In 2022, both subtitles and closed captions are essential for businesses that want to cover more international audiences. Companies do not need to produce hundreds of videos covering the same thing through these. All it takes is to put in the option for subtitles and closed-caption translations in various languages over the video. 

What is the difference between subtitles and closed captions (CC)?

Subtitles translate the video’s audio to cater to more languages in addition to the original audio. It is usually embedded in the actual file. Critically acclaimed movies such as Spirited Away, Parasite, and Train to Busan have subtitles from various languages such as English, French, Spanish and more to cater to a broader audience. The translation in the subtitles allows people who don’t speak or understand the original language to enjoy the content despite the language barrier still. Thus, reaching a broader scope than just within the locality. 

On the other hand, closed captions transcribe the video and include the sound effects, non-speech elements, and speaker changes in the captions. This helps hard-of-hearing people to experience and understand the videos. In streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu, closed captions are an option that can be turned on or off.

Most people use the two terms interchangeably—however, both have different purposes. Subtitles help the audience understand a video in a language they cannot understand. Closed captions’ target audience is hard-of-hearing people. The captions assist the viewers in getting the entire experience.

Another term that belongs to the same category is the open caption.

What are open captions? Open captions are captions that are embedded in the video itself and not as a layer, just like with closed captions. For open captions, you do not have the choice to turn them off or hide them.

Pro Tip: Always make sure the subtitles and captions sync with the video. The audience wants the videos to be clean, understandable,  and spoiler-free!

Are accurate translations of subtitles and closed captions necessary?

Yes. The internet should be safe and inclusive for everyone. The goal should be to provide the same experience for everyone as much as possible. 

Companies should prioritize subtitles and closed captions’ accuracy in every video project. Prioritizing accuracy, mistranslations and misunderstandings will never occur. Your video will reach various audiences with diverse backgrounds across the globe. Thus, it is essential to translate and localize your subtitles and closed captions in their native language without losing the story you are trying to convey. 

Imagine, without subtitles and closed captions, you will never be able to enjoy watching anime, Korean dramas, or other critically acclaimed shows in a different language because of the language barrier. Subtitles and closed captions are some of the simple ways to bridge the gap between cultures and open up the world for inclusivity.

Do I need subtitles and closed captions for my video projects?

Quick answer: Yes.

With the rising numbers of people preferring to watch videos worldwide, subtitles and captions have become staples in almost every video on the internet. Even Netflix, currently one of the biggest streaming apps, utilizes subtitles and closed captions for convenience and to improve the user’s overall experience. 

Quality Transcription and Subtitling Services

Which is better: Subtitles vs. Closed Captions? In 2022, a lot of people will scroll through social media apps with their volumes down. Closed captions can be the “superior” choice but it is also much more expensive. The answer depends on your company’s goals and target audience. The main goal is to maximize your potential to reach new audiences through videos. It has to cater to every audience. However, it’s not just about simple transcription or translation. It needs to be high-quality, precise, and fast. 

CREATIVE CONNECTIONS & COMMONS INC. offers transcription and subtitling services for your video projects. We guarantee accuracy, quality, and fast delivery with ten years of experience and a team of expert translators. 

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