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Captions primarily aim to provide a text representation of the audio content in a video or film for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Subtitles focus on translating the dialogue or narration of a foreign language film into another language
TL;DR Captions Vs. Subtitles
Captions primarily aim to provide a text representation of the audio content in a video or film for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. They include not only dialogue but also sound effects and background noises, making it accessible for all viewers.
Subtitles focus on translating the dialogue or narration of a foreign language film into another language. Subtitles assume that viewers can hear the audio but need assistance understanding the spoken words in a different language.
What are captions?
Captions, in the realm of audiovisual media, refer to the textual representation of spoken words and other relevant auditory elements. They are typically displayed at the bottom of the screen to assist viewers who may have hearing difficulties or prefer to watch content with sound muted. Captions not only convey dialogue but also include additional information such as background sounds, music lyrics, and even speaker identification.
What are subtitles?
Subtitles are textual representations of the dialogue or narration in a video, film, or television show. They are typically displayed at the bottom of the screen and provide viewers with translated or transcribed content. Subtitles serve as a tool for people who may not understand the language spoken in the video or those who have difficulty hearing.
Captions Vs. Subtitles – Key differences
|Purpose||Accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for viewers in noisy environments or without sound.||Provide translation of dialogue for viewers who don't understand the spoken language.|
|Content||Includes dialogue, sound effects, music descriptions, and other relevant auditory cues.||Focuses primarily on translating spoken dialogue.|
|Use Cases||Used for accessibility in videos, TV shows, movies, online content, etc.||Primarily used for foreign-language films or videos with multilingual content.|
|Display||Can be closed or open captions. Closed captions can be turned on or off, while open captions are always visible.||Can be traditional or forced subtitles. Traditional subtitles are optional and can be turned on or off, while forced subtitles are always visible and cannot be disabled.|
|Audience||Intended for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as others who may benefit from text representation of audio.||Intended for viewers who do not understand the language of the video and need a translation.|
|Inclusion||May include additional information like speaker identification and non-speech elements for better understanding.||Primarily focuses on translating spoken dialogue and does not include additional details.|
|Platforms||Used on various platforms, including online videos, TV broadcasts, movies, and more.||Mainly found in foreign-language films, TV shows, and videos with multilingual content.|
|Format||Typically available as separate caption files (e.g., SRT, VTT) that can be turned on or off.||Can be separate subtitle files (e.g., SRT, SUB) or permanently burned-in to the video.|
The purpose of captions
The purpose of captions is to make audiovisual content accessible and inclusive for everyone. They bridge the communication gap between individuals with varying hearing abilities by providing a written rendition of what is being said on-screen.
This allows those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to fully engage with movies, TV shows, online videos, and more.
Captions can also enhance comprehension for non-native speakers trying to grasp dialogue in a foreign language or decipher unfamiliar accents. They also come in handy when watching videos in noisy environments where catching every word might be challenging.
The purpose of subtitles
One key aspect of subtitles is their ability to enhance accessibility and inclusivity. By providing written text, subtitles enable individuals with hearing impairments to enjoy audiovisual content.
They also can be beneficial for viewers who are learning a new language by helping them comprehend spoken words.
Another important use of subtitles is in foreign films or TV shows that require translation. Instead of dubbing over the original voices with different actors speaking another language, subtitles allow viewers to watch and listen to the original performances while reading translated text at the bottom of the screen.
Types of captions
- Closed Captions (CC): Closed captions are a textual representation of the audio content in a video. They are typically used to assist viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they can also be useful in noisy environments or when watching videos without sound.
- Open Captions: Open captions are permanently embedded in the video and cannot be turned off. They are visible to all viewers and provide the same function as closed captions but are always displayed.
- Visual Captions: Visual captions are used to describe non-speech elements in a video, such as sound effects, music, or other important auditory cues that are relevant to the understanding of the content.
- Subtitles: Though subtitles are often used interchangeably with closed captions, they are slightly different. Subtitles primarily provide a translation of dialogue in a video for viewers who may not understand the spok
Types of subtitles
- Traditional Subtitles: provides a translation of the dialogue in a video, converting it into a different language for viewers who speak a different language than the original audio.
- Forced Subtitles: used when only a portion of the video requires translation. For example, in a multilingual movie, when characters are speaking a language different from the main language, forced subtitles translate only those specific parts.
- SDH Subtitles (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing): Similar to closed captions, SDH subtitles provide a textual representation of audio content but are primarily intended for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. They include additional information such as speaker identification, sound effects, and music cues.
- Burned-In Subtitles: Burned-in subtitles are permanently embedded in the video and cannot be turned off. They are often used when distributing videos on platforms that do not support separate subtitle files or when the video format does not allow for removable subtitles.
- Teletext Subtitles: Teletext subtitles are subtitles broadcasted alongside television programs and are accessed through the teletext feature of a television.
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