Closed captions are essential in ensuring that video content is accessible to all viewers, making it possible for them to comprehend and enjoy the material. They present a written version of the audio track in a video, including dialogue, sound effects, speaker identifications, and other non-speech elements. Closed captions can be turned on or off by the viewer and can also be incorporated into the video as a part of the visual content.
Closed captions make it possible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to understand a video’s audio content and those who may be in a noisy environment or don’t have access to audio. Additionally, closed captions can help non-native speakers understand the content of a video, improve comprehension for those who struggle with reading, and even increase engagement and retention for all viewers.
Closed-Captions: A Brief History
Closed captions have become a widespread technology in the past few decades, particularly in response to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed by the US Congress in 1990. The act mandates that businesses ensure that people with disabilities are not denied services or excluded from activities due to the absence of auxiliary aids. As closed captions are additional aid, their usage has significantly increased in recent years.
The concept of closed captions was first introduced in 1971 at the First National Conference on Television for the Hearing Impaired, and the technology continued to improve over the following years. The first time closed captions were featured on American television was in 1980, with three programs: the film “Son of Flubber” on NBC, “Semi-Tough” on ABC, and “Masterpiece Theatre” on PBS.
In 1982, the National Captioning Institute introduced real-time captioning, with court reporters able to provide instant captions for news, entertainment, and sports programs. And just five years ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new standards for text-based interfaces, ensuring a continuous improvement in the quality of closed captions.
Three Uses of Closed-Captions
Closed captions can be especially helpful for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, as they provide more information than just the dialogue in films or TV shows. Closed captions include all non-speech elements that help the audience understand what’s happening on the screen. This information can be critical for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, who may not be able to hear certain sounds or distinguish between different speakers.
Closed captions play a crucial role in assisting neurodivergent individuals, including those with mental and learning disabilities, by offering a written version of spoken language that helps improve their understanding and memory of the material. However, closed captions do offer accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It is essential to recognize that closed captions can also positively affect individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities.
Closed captions can also benefit those in noisy or sound-sensitive environments and non-native English speakers looking to learn the language. They provide a more comprehensive understanding of spoken dialogue, including sound effects, speaker identifications, and descriptions of non-verbal actions.
Boosting Social Media Engagement
Approximately 81% of businesses and content creators utilize video content to attract and maintain the attention of their desired audience. However, research has shown that many people watch videos without sound. This is because video content can grab the viewer’s attention and prevent them from scrolling, an expected behavior among internet users.
In 2016, Facebook discovered that 85% of its video views were without sound. Another study by Verizon Media and Publicis Media found that 80% of people who use captions do not have a hearing impairment. Rather, captions are preferred because they allow people to understand the content even when they cannot listen to the audio, whether it be due to their environment or the device they are using.
Captions also play a crucial role in video content as they can help hook the viewer’s attention early on. This is important for businesses and content creators, as capturing the viewer’s attention early on is crucial for keeping them engaged. Whether the video is a webinar, a virtual conference, or a social media post, captions can help grab the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged with the content. By using captions, businesses and social media creators can ensure that their message is accessible to a broader audience and increase the chances of successfully capturing their target audience’s attention.
Improving Reading and Comprehension Skills
Learning to read encompasses a range of critical skills, including proficiency in word recognition, vocabulary development, decoding, and knowledge of words. It also involves the capacity to connect ideas, express thoughts, and understand written text. Comprehension, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of abilities, including identifying and communicating using written and printed materials.
Closed captioning has a crucial role in boosting literacy among kids. Despite remote learning appearing to hinder reading skills, research proves otherwise. Studies back up this statement and indicate that children are more likely to read captions or subtitles when available, leading to improved word exposure, reading speed, and reading fluency.
One major study on closed captioning’s effect on literacy was done in India using Bollywood TV shows and films. The study found that 70% of the children who received captions became functional readers, compared to only 34% of children who didn’t receive captions.
Importance of Professional Captioning
Adding captions to any multimedia project, whether a video, audio, or podcast, is essential in making the content accessible to all viewers, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, adding captions can take much work, as it involves transcribing the spoken words in the content and aligning them with the correct time codes. This can be time-consuming, especially if the audio quality could be better or if there are multiple speakers in the content.
That’s where a professional captioning service can come in handy. These services employ trained transcriptionists and caption editors who are experts in the field and can provide high-quality captions promptly. They also use state-of-the-art technology to ensure the captions’ accuracy and streamline the captioning process. By outsourcing the captioning process to a professional, you can save time and effort while ensuring that the captions are accurate and consistent.
The use of closed captions in videos offers many advantages, making them a valuable addition to any video content, which is why it is crucial to ensure that your captions are on point. To do this, it’s recommended that you hire a transcription company like Daily Transcription.
Daily Transcription offers a range of closed-captioning, subtitling, and translation services at competitive rates and quick turnaround times. With a wealth of experience in the industry, including work with various networks, production companies, and broadcasters, we have a superior level of knowledge and expertise in closed-captioning services. Our team of experts is highly skilled and experienced, and we take great pride in delivering outputs that are precise and without any errors.
If you have captioning needs for your multimedia project, don’t hesitate to contact us here; we will be more than happy to assist you.