Video Captioning and Subtitling Services: What’s the Difference?

May 23, 2018

Video Captioning and Subtitling Services: What’s the Difference?

While video captioning and subtitling services are used to promote accessibility and inclusivity, these are also being strategically utilized by companies as part of their marketing systems. Video captioning or subtitling services can be used to boost content visibility on search engines like Google, since video content is not easily categorized or "read" by search engines and can only be indexed by their texts (i.e. captions and subtitles). This heavily supports SEO strategies imperative to content marketing in order to drive extra website traffic and eventually maximize audience reach.

These video transcriptions can also be used in qualitative or market research: the researcher can use subtitled or captioned videos to better present stimuli to respondents. Afterwards, the market researcher can have their interviews or focus groups captured on video be captioned or subtitled for quicker review, analysis, or reporting.

Whichever the case is, both subtitles and video captions certainly benefit everyone. In order to use the right ones for specific purposes, you must understand these distinct differences between video captioning and subtitling services:

Video Captioning

Video captioning, also referred to as “same-language subtitling”, aims to provide the deaf or hard of hearing communities a full experience of a video they’re watching by supplementing not only the dialogues but everything in the audio track beyond speech. Basically, video captioning assumes that the audience is unable to hear the audio, thus describes what they would otherwise be hearing like background noises, soundtracks, and other relevant audio cues enclosed in brackets - e.g. [phone ringing] and [eerie music starts]. Captions are usually white in a black translucent box.

Photo from “Deaf and Individuals with Hearing Loss” ©Pennsylvania State University

Positioning plays an important role in video captioning, as the hearing impaired audience needs help distinguishing different speakers. Videos with multiple speakers can position captions by the person who’s speaking, but sometimes captions are placed constantly on the lower part of the screen, labeled.


Subtitling is a straight transcription or translation of the speakers’ spoken language to one that’s familiar to the audience. These are created assuming that all of the viewers are hearing people. Unlike video captioning, subtitling contain less information as there’s no need to describe audio cues and background noises. Subtitling services often have more versatility and have complete control of the font styles and colors of subtitles - the most common is white with a black rim or drop shadow. These are commonly positioned in the lower, middle thirds of the screen but can be positioned at the top at times when key information are found at the bottom.

Example of a film with subtitles (Charade (Criterion Blu-ray edition 2010) (1963)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Like video captioning, subtitles can be turned on or off and can be permanently burnt into a video or film as well.

Video Captioning Rates

TranscriptionWing offers video captioning services of your choice - whether open or closed captioning - at an inexpensive per minute rate of $1.25! Feel free to provide us your transcript or have us transcribe the recording for you. Our transcription services pricing starts at $1.25 per minute only! You can also explore our subtitling services by letting us know the details of your project at and we’ll be glad to be of help!

Related Posts

Free Recording Service