video-captioning-definition-importance-guidelinesVideo was once a medium generally limited to television programming and physical video files like DVDs. Today, however, with online video platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, and Dailymotion, people are streaming, creating, and posting video content more than ever. Video demand continues to rise and more and more audiences turn to this easily accessible and digestible visual medium. Because of this, many organizations find that publishing video content is a very effective way to reach their various target audiences, be it for marketing, training, orientations, and many more.

While the use of video content is effective in terms of drawing the attention of your target market, its full potential can be hindered by communication barriers like language differences or voice and audio clarity that risks the essence of the video content. It’s a good thing now that there are available video captioning services that can easily enhance what your video content can offer and ensure its accessibility and optimal understandability to audiences.

Video captioning is actually one of the two classifications of video transcriptions. It is an essential aid for the deaf or hard-of-hearing communities and for those who are viewing from a noisy environment. On the other hand, captions are on-screen text derived from various elements of video content. It can be dialogue or audibles such as soundtracks or background noise like phones ringing, or audio cues that should be thoroughly described to provide the necessary context for hard-of-hearing viewers. This means that captions are carefully timed or “time-coded” to synchronize with the audio or video. Captions of dialogues usually appear as white text on a black box, while non-dialogue content appears in-between brackets and are usually displayed at the bottom of the video screen.

There are two types of captions for video content: open captions and closed captions. Open captions, also known as hard-coded captions, are permanently embedded in the video and can’t be turned off. Closed captions, on the other hand, are text descriptions on a separate track where viewers are allowed the option to switch them on or off while watching a video. It is identified by the CC icon. There are a number of applications that offer closed captioning services which are compatible with several video platforms. TranscriptionWing, for instance, offers a 3-stage proofing process to ensure both the accuracy of the transcript and the precision of time synchronization.

Why are video captions important anyway?

Aside from making videos more accessible to the deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers, it also generally improves comprehension. Captions help compensate for poor audio quality or when a viewer is watching in an environment with too much background noise. It also enhances search engine visibility.

There are necessary guidelines you should consider in order to create accurate captions. Below are some tips that can make video captioning easier:

  • Keep your captions short, using no more than three lines of text. Make sure that the size and font are big enough to be readable but not too big that it will block the visuals shown in the video.
  • Speaker identification is vital. Viewers should be able to differentiate one speaker from the other either through color indication or speaker labels. Also, note the background sounds. You can use italics to indicate sounds occurring off-screen or when a new word is being defined. Positioning captions can also assist viewers with speaker differentiation.
  • Captions should be verbatim. The audio should be transcribed exactly as the speaker says them, in the same order, with no additions or deletions.
  • A little research may go a long way. For example, you can look into the speakers’ profiles online or do a quick search about the topic beforehand so there won’t be any confusion in terms of spelling and terminologies.
  • Proofread the captions before making them publicly available.

Hopefully, we are able to assist you better in your next video captioning project!