Subtitles and Captions

February 22, 2013 Samantha

The Difference Between Captions and Subtitles


It is the law that all video programming distributors include closed captioning for their broadcasts and that all television receivers with a screen of 13 inches or more must have the nessecary decoder circuitry built in to display closed captioning. The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 also states that all online videos previously aired on television should include captions.

You may have noticed when watching your favourite TV show, that the symbols CC are displayed during the beginning of the programme in the top right hand corner of your television screen. This stands for ‘closed captioning’. But what is closed captioning and what is the difference between closed captions and subtitles?

Closed captions, (as opposed to open captions which are burned into the video) give the viewer the option to either display or hide the captions, as required. While it is true that closed captions and subtitles are very similar (in fact, in some countries they are considered the same thing) closed captions are designed for viewers who are either hard of hearing or deaf and include not only the dialogue of the programme, but also any relevant background noises such as a telephone ringing, a gunshot or a doorbell. This information, although taken for granted by most viewers, is often an important part of the viewing experience and therefore crucial to include for viewers who are unable to hear. Subtitles on the other hand, simply display the dialogue of the video.

Both subtitles and captions are extremely useful to include with your videos, not only for the deaf or hard of hearing, but also for viewers who wish to learn a foreign language. They are also useful for public viewing areas which are displaying a number of different programmes simultaneously and for those who simply prefer to sit quietly and read the dialogue to their favourite programmes.

Transcription City can offer you a range of services for your subtitling and captioning needs, including general transcription services, time-coded transcription (including time in and time out), .srt and .ssa subtitling services.

If you would like to know more about the transcription services we provide or would like to receive a quote, why not contact us today? We have a fast, friendly and reliable team who are always happy to help.



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