How Closed Caption Translation Opens a World of Possibilities

Last Updated April 4, 2022

closed caption translation

Closed caption translation expands the inclusivity of your content and increases the scope of your market.

Closed captions are a text version of the spoken part of a television show, movie, YouTube video, or multimedia presentation.

They help those who are hard of hearing. By 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss, and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.

If you’re not adding captions to video content, you’re closing it off to a large group of people.

Closed captioning is further useful for a variety of other situations, most notably in education. According to the National Library of Medicine, “more than 100 empirical studies document that captioning a video improves comprehension of, attention to, and memory for the video.”

The benefits include:

  • Helping children learn to read by mapping sound and meaning onto text
  • Enhancing comprehension for those viewing in their second language
  • Boosting attention and memory

So, when TV commercials are captioned, for example, viewers recall the products with a greater degree of accuracy. And when educators caption course lectures, students better remember the lectures’ content.

To be a company that values inclusivity and to reach even more people with your content, closed caption translation is a necessary investment.

What do we mean by closed captioning?

Closed captions appear as text superimposed onto your video. They represent the speech, narration and sounds that occur throughout the video. Closed captions give viewers the option of switching the captions on and off.

Most major video platforms support closed captions, including YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. They’re also common on broadcast television and streaming media platforms like Netflix.

Closed captioning for public television was developed to mandate accessibility as a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The guidelines of this law stipulate you must caption all public multimedia, whether in the classroom or on late-night television, to prevent discrimination.

Anyone can access the closed captions, though. Most videos have a CC button at the bottom so anyone can turn them on. This is handy if you’re watching a video on your phone without earbuds, for example.

Difference Between Closed Captions and Subtitles

Aren’t captions the same as subtitles?

Sort of, in the sense that both are text versions of the spoken audio in video.

Closed captions allow hard-of-hearing people to experience all aspects the video. They therefore include background sounds and speaker indicators.

Subtitles assume the viewer hears the audio and as a result do not contain the background sounds or notifications for speaker changes.

Closed vs. Open Captions

If there’s closed captions, does that mean there’s open ones, too? Yes.

Remember that CC button mentioned earlier? Open captions always are in view and you can’t turn them off. You can, however, turn closed captions on and off.

Special devices called decoders enable us to view closed captions. Since 1993, decoders have been required to be built into sets 13 inches or larger sold for use in the United States.

3 Things You Need to Know About Closed Caption Translation

Your captions can’t just be in English. Out of the world’s approximately 7.8 billion inhabitants, 1.35 billion speak English.

Let’s dig into some specifics regarding why you need to invest in closed caption translation.

Closed caption translation increases engagement

85 percent of people watch Facebook videos on mute. They say adding captions to your video can boost view time by 12 percent.

People might be watching on public transit or at the office. Captions make it easy for people to consume the information presented in the videos without needing to turn the sound on.

Not only are you making your videos more accessible, but you’re also making it easier for everyone to engage with your content, products, and services.

Closed caption translation increases market share

An effective closed caption reaches potential new customers, especially in the e-commerce space.

Even locally, you might be surprised by how many people speak a language that isn’t your expected or intended target.

Closed captions that are tailored towards specific target languages bring them message about your product and business to exponentially more potential customers.

Companies increase sales by translating and localizing their offerings into a bunch of different languages.

Presenting your marketing materials with closed captions in different languages helps your company build trust. People will see you dedicate time and resources to inclusivity and are willing to go the extra mile.

Automatic speech recognition isn’t good enough

You could rely on automatic speech recognition (ASR) for your closed captions, but inaccurate captioning comes at a cost.

Closed caption quality matters because closed captions are a corresponding alternative to video for individuals who are hard of hearing or aren’t native speakers. When closed captions are inaccurate, they are inaccessible.

The industry standard for closed caption accuracy is 99% accuracy rate. Accuracy measures punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

Studies show that even a 95% accuracy rate is sometimes insufficient in accurately conveying a message. For a typical sentence length of 8 words, a 95%-word accuracy rate means there will be an error, on average, every 2.5 sentences.

Most ASR technologies have an accuracy rate of 80%. ASR developers therefore still use human transcribers to improve the edge cases where transcription is failing, and accuracy is at a premium.

This is especially important in captioning because you need to capture not only the speech, but also who’s speaking and other noises – music playing, bells ringing, and laughter, for example.

We still need humans for these more in-depth speech transcription and translation projects to ensure the highest levels of accuracy. That becomes extremely apparent in closed caption translation.

Open Opportunities with Closed Caption Translation

Summa Linguae Technologies specializes in video localization services.

Our extensive network of resources overseen by efficient project management ensures the complete delivery of all aspects of video production like subtitling and closed caption translation.

Our team will ensure your content is localized, linguistically correct, culturally appropriate, and that it fits within the proper context.

Contact us today to get started.

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