Closed captioning is a legal requirement in the UK and US for all nationally broadcast media, including satellite television providers, terrestrial, digital and cable companies. The obligation for closed captioning is a growing industry and closed captioning is now often included in movie theatres, cinemas, DVD’s and most educational videos.

Do I Need Open Captioning or Closed Captioning?

When is Captioning Required? What is Closed Captioning Used For?Open captioning is similar to closed captioning in the sense that the information when displayed is the same, however, open captions are part of the video itself, meaning that they are permanently on display and cannot be switched off. Closed captioning is a subtitle or caption file that is created separately from the video itself and can be turned on or off depending on as the viewer requires. One of the advantages of closed captioning is that they can also be translated, offering the viewer the choice of many different languages, all within the same video file.

What is Closed Captioning Used For?

Closed captioning is the inclusion of synced onscreen text for video and is used for viewers who are deaf, hard of hearing or hearing impaired. Closed captioning includes both the spoken dialogue within a video as well as a description for any audio that is part of the plot or narrative but is not always visible or obvious to those with a hearing impairment (think [thunder roars] or [doorbell rings]. Closed captioning ensures that everyone who watches a film or video has an equal opportunity to enjoy the content whether it be an online educational video or nationally broadcast sitcom.

What Are the Advantages of Closed Captions?

Well, the most important advantage of closed caption is that they allow everyone to enjoy your video content regardless of hearing impairment, language spoken or viewer preference. Other advantages include SEO (search engine optimisation benefits) and a greater opportunity to grow your audience.

Can Closed Captions Be Included for Live Video

Closed captions are a legal requirement for all broadcast video and so can be added to live video (such as news or magazine programmes). This can be performed either by a real time stenographer (fully trained and experienced in stenography and shorthand) or via speech recognition software. Although speech recognition software is a cheaper option when it comes to live captioning, it can produce mistakes (sometimes embarrassing mistakes) to the extent of the dialogue at times making no sense at all. Live subtitling and captioning is never as accurate as general closed captioning or subtitling.

When Is Captioning Required? The Future of Captioning

Captioning services are fast becoming quicker and easier to produce and add to video, meaning that even someone unfamiliar with the subtitling software can produce closed captions quite easily with a transcript and automated software (although this can of course compromise accuracy of timings). Captioning is also becoming popular for online video conferencing, telephone calls and for services such as Skype, Facetime and the like. It has even been suggested that radio should offer captioning via online subtitling and transcripts, to ensure that discrimination is prohibited at all costs and content is available to everyone and anyone that wants it.

If you would like more information about closed captioning, subtitling, transcription services for video or translation services, why not get in touch? We are available seven days a week and always happy to help.