What is the Difference Between Closed Captions and Subtitles

June 13, 2022

Closed captions and subtitles have been around for a long time but it gains popularity in recent years as video content is in demand. Both subtitles and closed captions appear as text on the screen and typically represent the dialogue of the characters. Though both serve almost the same purpose yet they are very different in many ways. For most people, subtitles and closed captions are the same but for content creators, they are very different. Here is anything you need to know about closed captions and subtitles.

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What are Closed Captions?

Closed captions refer to the text within the video that does not only cater to the dialogue of the character but also all elements of the video. This includes the sound and background noises that appear on the video such as the sound of a door screech, a beep sound, and more. Closed captions that use to describe background noises are usually written in the bracket to set them apart from the characters’ dialogue. The main purpose of the closed caption is to help people who are hard of hearing understand a film or video.

What are Subtitles?

On the other hand, subtitle represents the spoken words version of a film or video. Different from closed captions, the subtitle is aimed at global audiences who have trouble understanding the content. In this case, subtitles are mostly created to help audiences to watch the film in foreign languages. Since it aims at global audiences, the subtitle only includes the dialogue of the characters without a description of background noise.

What are the Differences?

Both formats of text transcription feel the same but in fact, they are not the same. They may be similar but there are significant differences.

  • Closed caption is created to improve the watching experience of people with hard hearing. It does not only include character dialogue but also describes the background noise.
  • Subtitle mainly purposes for internationally produced content that aims global audiences. It only includes dialogue of the character without background noise. Sometimes, the subtitle is also available in translation format to help non-native audiences understand a film or content.

Which One is Better?

Sometimes it can be challenging to choose which one is better between closed captions and subtitles. However, it depends on the purpose of the content and also your preference. Both text transcription formats serve different purposes and benefits thus it is important to decide the reason for adding them to the content.

When you aim for accessibility of a film or video, the caption is the way to go. Meanwhile, when you target different markets and domains to share a film or video, subtitles can be a great choice for non-native audiences.

Either way, adding closed captions and subtitles is a simple process packed with lots of benefits for all audiences. To get prefect captions and subtitles, it is important to work with a professional agency. Tujju Media provides professional subtitles and captions for film and video content. The agency also offers content translation for global audiences.

Also Read: The Benefits of Using Subtitle for Non-Native Speakers
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