What are the differences between Closed Captions and Subtitling?

Robert McGuinness

At NZTC International our work goes beyond simple written translations. We offer services as diverse as courtroom interpreting, multilingual design, WordPress website translations and cultural consultancy to name just a few. With the rise in the use of video for marketing and communication, we are doing more and more multilingual video work. One question that comes up time and again is what is the difference between closed captions and subtitles? Here we answer that question. Subtitles – these are the written text of the dialogue that is heard in a video. This dialogue could be the words spoken by a character, narrator or other speakers. Subtitles assist in making a video accessible to speakers of a different language. Closed captions – here the dialogue is also provided in written form but other audible components are also provided in written text. This could be written descriptions of things such as the background noise, music playing and so-on. Closed captions assist in making videos not only accessible to speakers of a different language but can also assist in making videos accessible to deaf or hard of hearing viewers. With subtitling there is an assumption that the viewer can hear the background noises and therefore doesn’t need these sounds described via written text on-screen. Closed captions make the assumption that the viewer cannot hear these sounds and as a result needs them written out in text form on the screen. If you are creating videos for a non-English speaking audience, get in touch with us today - we can help you achieve the best and most efficient multilingual solution for your content. Email sales@nztcinternational.com

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