Understanding Closed Captions: The Basics Explained

Closed Captions Meaning: Understanding Closed Captions and Why They are Important for Content Creators

As a content creator, you’ve probably heard about closed captions and how they are essential for creating accessible and inclusive content. But what are closed captions, and what do they actually mean? In this post, we’ll be exploring the meaning of closed captions, why they are important, and how you can add them to your content.

What are Closed Captions?

Closed captions are textual representations of the audio in a video or other forms of media. They include details such as spoken dialogue, sound effects, and even music lyrics. Closed captions are timed to appear on the screen simultaneously with the corresponding audio dialogue, text, or sound effects.

Unlike subtitles, closed captions are designed to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing understand the audio content. However, they’re also beneficial to non-native speakers, people watching a video in a noisy environment, and those who prefer to watch videos with the sound off.

Why are Closed Captions Important for Content Creators?

Now that we know what closed captions are let’s take a closer look at why they’re beneficial for content creators.

First and foremost, adding closed captions to your content increases accessibility and inclusivity. It enables people with hearing difficulties to understand and enjoy your content. Accessibility and inclusivity are increasingly topical, and creating content that is accessible to a wider audience is becoming an essential consideration for content creators.

Moreover, Closed captions also make your content more discoverable as search engines can crawl the text content on your video. This can increase your reach and audience size, which is particularly important if you’re creating content to promote a specific product or service.

Finally, incorporating closed captions in your content can improve your viewer engagement metrics. They may encourage people to watch your videos for longer, which results in an increased watch time and consequently a higher video session time.

Types of Closed Captions

There are two types of closed captions, full and partial. Full captions include all the audio in the video, while partial captions only include the dialogue or important sounds.

Full captions are beneficial because they provide accessibility to all sound in a video. However, they can be distracting, particularly if your video has a lot of background noises, or there’s non-dialogue audio content, like music lyrics.

On the other hand, partial captions focus on conveying only the critical dialogue or sound, which can save time and make the captions less intrusive.

How to Add Closed Captions to your Content

Now that we understand the importance of closed captions, let’s take a look at how to add them to your content.

Automatic Captioning

Many video hosting platforms, such as YouTube and Vimeo, have an automatic captioning system that uses speech recognition technology to create captions automatically. However, these automatic captions can be inaccurate, with errors in timing, phrasing, or even spelling.

Therefore, it’s essential to double-check the captions’ accuracy after uploading. Additionally, captions generated by speech recognition software may not capture non-dialogue audio, such as background music or sound effects. Hence, using third-party captioning services are recommended for an accurate transcript.

Manual Captioning

The most reliable way to add accurate closed captions to your content is to create them manually. It can be time-consuming, but it ensures your captions are precise and capture the exact speech, sound, or lyrics in your video.

You can create your captions manually using third-party tools such as Amara and Caption Creator. Additionally, you can also hire professional captioning services that can guarantee high-quality captions with fast turnaround times.

Creating closed captions manually sounds tedious, but it’s essential if you want to guarantee the accuracy of the captions.


Closed captions are essential, not just for people with hearing difficulties, but also for creating accessible and inclusive content. They make your content more discoverable to new audiences and can improve viewer engagement metrics.

While automatic captioning tools can be useful, they’re often inaccurate and may not capture all the audio content in your video. Therefore, manually created captions are the best option for ensuring accuracy and inclusivity.

As a content creator, incorporating closed captions in your content should be an essential consideration, and we hope that we’ve provided enough insight to create comprehensive and engaging content with closed captions.

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