Understanding Closed Captions: A Simple Explanation

Closed captions have become an essential part of online content creation. They enable the deaf and hard of hearing community to enjoy video content that they would otherwise miss out on. They also make videos more accessible to people who don’t speak the language fluently, as well as to those who prefer to read the content instead of listening.

So, what are closed captions? Closed captions are text that appears on the screen, displaying the audio as it happens. They are closed in the sense that they can be turned on and off at the viewer’s discretion.

Closed captions are different from subtitles in that they include not only the spoken dialogue but also sounds like music, sound effects, and other important audio cues for the deaf and hard of hearing viewers. Sometimes they also indicate the speaker’s tone and emotions. Additionally, subtitles are used to translate foreign films and shows, while closed captions are intended for inclusivity.

For many content creators, closed captions have become an integral part of their online videos. More than just a way to improve accessibility, captions offer a host of other benefits, including increased engagement and improved SEO.

Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why content creators should be using closed captions:

Improved Accessibility
As mentioned above, closed captions make your videos available to a much wider audience, including the deaf and hard of hearing. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. Inclusivity can help to build stronger communities and foster goodwill. By providing captions, you are showing your audience that you value them and want everyone to be able to enjoy your content.

Higher Engagement
Captions help to keep your viewers engaged. They provide another way for people to interact with your content, and therefore, make it more enjoyable. Captions make it easier for viewers to follow along and stay engaged, especially in noisy or distracting environments.

Better Comprehension
Captions can also help people better understand the content of videos. By providing captions, you are helping your viewers to retain more information, remember more details, and understand the context and nuances of your video content.

Improved SEO
Adding captions to your videos can help boost your SEO. Search engines like Google can crawl the captions within your video and index the text for search results. This means that your videos will show up in more search results and download easily for those who have a slow internet connection. The increased accessibility also means that more people will discover and engage with your content, creating a chain reaction of engagement.

How to Create Closed Captions
Creating closed captions is not as complicated as you might think. The process will vary depending on the platform you are using. For instance, YouTube offers a built-in closed captioning tool that automatically generates captions for you. But you can also upload an external file that you have created on your own.

If you want more control, you can use a third-party tool like Rev or Overstream to create captions. These tools offer more flexibility for formatting and editing your captions.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating captions:

– Accuracy is key: Captions should be an accurate representation of what is being said in the audio. Use transcription software or a professional to ensure accuracy.
– Word Count: A good rule of thumb is to stick to two lines per caption and around 35-40 characters per line for legibility.
– Proper Formatting: Caption timing and formatting should be consistent, making it easier for people to track the video’s information as the audio changes.
– Editing: Read through your captions thoroughly for errors like grammar, spacing, and time-longevity. You’re content has to be error-free. Therefore you can also give the caption transcript to the video editor for error inspection.

Conclusion
Closed captions are an essential part of online content creation. They make videos more inclusive by catering to the deaf and hard of hearing community and enhance engagement by making it easier to follow along. Captions can help to boost the SEO of your videos, ensuring that they reach a broader audience. So, if you’re not already using captions, now’s the time to start!

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