Claudia Ancuta

Claudia Ancuta

May 16, 2024

A Deep Dive into Captions: Everything You Need to Know


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If you're into making videos – for projects, social media, or just for fun – captions are about to change your game. They're not just about accessibility; they improve the experience for everyone. Forget just typing what people say, there's a whole strategy to make your captions awesome.

What are Captions? (And Why You Need Them)

Captions are your video's trusty sidekick, turning all the audio – dialogue, music, important sounds – into text on the screen.  Here's why they're a big deal:

  • Accessibility: Captions make sure everyone can enjoy your videos, even if they can't hear well.
  • Smarter Viewing: They help you understand and remember information in videos, whether it's science class or a video essay.
  • Watch Without Sound: Catch your videos on the bus, in a noisy place, or wherever you don't want to disturb others.
  • Language Learning Boost: Captions make it easier to pick up new vocabulary and pronunciations.
  • SEO Magic: This is the good stuff – captions help search engines understand your video, meaning more people can find it.
why you need captions

The Secret to Great Captions

Truly great captions need a few key things:

  • Accuracy: The text has to perfectly match the spoken words and important sounds for maximum clarity.
  • Good Timing: Captions should appear right on cue, not too early or too late.
  • Easy to Read: They should use clear fonts, be a good size, and stick around long enough to be read.
  • Complete Coverage: Captions should be there for the entire video, providing a full experience.
the secret to great captions

How to Add Captions: Choose Your Method

  • DIY Captions: This is the way to go for full control and perfect captions. First, auto-transcribe your video's audio to text. Then edit your captions to ensure they are accurate, in sync, cover the entire video, and are clear to read. Happy with your captions? Next, add your captions to your video files on your favorite social media platforms and video players like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CupCut,, and more.
  • Automatic Captioning: AI-powered tools do the typing for you. (Faster, but many times needs editing.)
  • Pro Services: You can hire captioning experts to ensure everything's perfect. (Most accurate, but also costs more.)

Types of Captions and Formats

Open Captions: These ones are always visible, directly a part of the video, and permanently onto your video files.

Closed Captions: The coolest kind! You can turn these on and off. Ideal for diverse audience needs!

Formats: These are just different ways to save captions.

  • SRT (SubRip Subtitle): One of the most common caption formats, compatible with most platforms.
  • VTT (Web Video Text Tracks): Common for web-based videos.
  • SCC (Scenarist Closed Captions): Used for broadcast media.

Captioning Services: What to Expect

Understanding Your Options

Captioning services come in two main flavours: automated and professional. Automated services are fast and affordable, but they aren't always perfect, especially with noisy audio or accents. Professional services are done by real people, so they're more accurate, but also more expensive.

What to Expect:

Automated Services:

  • Accuracy: Best with clear audio – expect 90-95%. Accuracy drops with noise, accents, or complex words.
  • Price: Often charged per minute of video, starting from as low as $0.01 per minute.

Professional Services:

  • Accuracy: Highest accuracy, even with tricky audio.
  • Price: More expensive, also usually charged per minute.

Some companies offer subscription plans where you get a bundle of minutes each month.

The Unseen Benefits of Captions

Captions are a must-have if you want your videos to reach everyone, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

But that's not all! Captions do more than make your videos accessible; they transform your content into a versatile tool for engagement, learning, and discovery:

  • Watch Anywhere, Anytime: Even in a crowded place or if you lost your earbuds.
  • Learning Hack: Great for studying, especially with complex subjects.
  • Grow Your Audience: People who watch videos on mute (and that's a LOT of people) can enjoy your content.
  • Longer Watch Times: Viewers tend to stick around longer when captions are available.
captions benefits

Captions vs. Subtitles: Know the Difference

Understanding the Difference:

  • Captions are designed for those with hearing impairments and include all relevant audio cues and sound effects.
  • Subtitles are translations for audiences who speak a different language. They don't usually include non-dialogue audio cues.

Caption Laws

Believe it or not, there are actual laws about captions!

Schools, governments, news channels, and broadcasters are required to provide captions to ensure everyone has equal access to information. These laws promote inclusivity and accessibility!

European Union:

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) of 2019 is a landmark regulation aiming to enhance accessibility across digital products and services, including multimedia content. This act represents the EU's commitment to accessibility in the digital age. Read more about the EAA.

The 2018 Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) modernizes the framework for digital video broadcasting and on-demand services, ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. Explore the AVMSD.

United States:

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) of 2010 updates federal communication laws to cover modern communications, making digital media content accessible, including mandatory captioning for online video content. Learn about the CVAA.

Global Guidelines:

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in June 2018, sets the latest international standards for web content accessibility, including recommendations for making audio and video media accessible to all users. Read the WCAG 2.1 Guidelines.

Staying compliant with laws like the European Accessibility Act and the CVAA in the US is crucial, but it's more than just legal adherence; it's about respecting and valuing the diversity of your audience. Making your videos accessible with high-quality captions is a step toward a more inclusive digital world.

Next Steps in the Captioning Journey

Ready to level up your videos with captions?

Start with our easy-to-use platform that simplifies the captioning process:

1. Upload your audio or video files: Directly from computer, by drag-and-drop, or via a public link such us: YouTube, Google Drive, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, or any other pubic source.

2. Receive Transcript: Choose the original language of your files and receive your transcript.

3. Edit: Proofread on our platform for precision and readability. Make any necessary corrections for 100% accuracy.

4. Download: Get your captions in SRT format, ready for various platforms.

5. Upload your caption files to platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CupCut,, and more, instantly making your videos accessible to a wider audience.

Ready to get started?

Join us today and get 60 minutes of free usage of our transcription software, without any commitment. No credit card needed. 

Continue Reading

Learn how to use speech-to-text technology to transcribe media files faster.

Discover why and how to add captions to your Instagram Reels in our Benefits of Reel Captions for Instagram blog post.

Wandering how to transcribe a YouTube video? Check out our tutorial on How to Transcribe Youtube video to text. 

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