Understanding Closed Captions: A Beginner’s Guide

Closed captions are a vital element of the content creation process. They provide a textual overlay of the spoken words, making the video accessible and comprehensible to a broader audience. Closed captions are used mainly in video production, including social media videos, YouTube videos, online courses, movies, and TV shows.

In this blog post, we will be discussing in detail what closed captions mean and why they should be an imperative part of the content creation process.

What are Closed Captions?

Closed captions are a synchronized transcript of the spoken content in a video, designed to help people with hearing impairment, learning difficulties, or where the speaker’s accent causes difficulty in comprehension. Closed captions use a narration or dialogued content signal to display the words spoken on the screen. This means that subscribers of closed captions do not miss out on the spoken content even if it is not entirely clear, sometimes mumbled, or not delivered in a language they can understand completely.

Different Types of Closed Captions

There are two types of closed captions: open captions and closed captions. Open captions are permanently visible and are burned into the video. The closed captions, on the other hand, can be turned off and on, and are not visible unless you select the option to show them.

Why are Closed Captions Important?

Adding closed captions to your videos provides numerous benefits to both the viewer and the content creator.

1. Accessibility

Closed captions provide content accessibility for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Moreover, it assists individuals who do not speak the language spoken in the video, may be learning the language, or do not have access to sound on the device used to watch the video.

2. Improved Video SEO

Search engines, such as Google, don’t watch videos; rather, they scan them for relevant text. Adding closed captions provides your videos with text metadata, which makes them more discoverable and searchable on the internet. This means that anyone searching for content related to your video can easily find it by searching for the text in the closed captions.

3. Better User Experience

Closed captions enhance the viewing experience of the video, providing a comprehensive understanding of the spoken content. A viewer who watches the video without sound may have difficulty following the story; however, with closed captions, they can understand everything that’s going on.

4. Increased Viewer Retention

Many viewers choose to watch videos without volume, either because they’re in a public place or because they do not want to disturb others. By using closed captions, content creators make it easier for viewers to consume the video content without the need for sound.

How to Add Closed Captions to your Videos

Now that we have established the importance of using closed captions in your videos, here’s how to add closed captions to your videos.

1. Start with a Script

The first step is to create a script for the video content. The script should contain all the spoken word content in the video. This text is used as the base for the closed captions that you will add to your video.

2. Add the Closed Captions

The next step is to add closed captions to your video. Several tools and services offer the functionality to add closed captions to your videos. If your video is on YouTube, you can use YouTube’s auto-generate captions feature. Alternatively, you can use third-party services such as Kapwing and Rev.com to generate closed captions.

3. Edit the Captions

Once you have added the closed captions, it is essential to fine-tune them. Editing the text ensures that it is accurate and error-free. Moreover, you can adjust the captions’ timing to match the spoken word in the video, so it displays on the screen at the right time.

4. After Publication

Once you have added the closed captions to your video, it is imperative to optimize them for the internet. This means that you should add relevant metadata, such as keywords, to the text. Doing so makes it easier for search engines to index and rank your video on search engine results pages.


In conclusion, closed captions are an essential element in content creation that provides many benefits to both the viewer and content creator. It makes videos accessible to a larger audience, improves video SEO, enhances user experience, and increases viewer retention. Adding closed captions to your video is an easy task that anyone can do. Ensure you create a script, add closed captions, edit the captions, and optimize them for the internet. Remember, good closed captions are correctly timed, accurately transcribed, and enriched with metadata.

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