Have you ever wondered why businesses and individuals opt to add closed captions to their audio/ video files? Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore because in this article we will look at some of these reasons.
Closed captioning is the process of displaying texts on a television, video screen, or any other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information. They were developed specifically to aid hearing-impaired people when interacting with audio/video content. Below we will look at some benefits that closed captions bring in our day-to-day life.
1. Inclusivity & Accessibility for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing Viewers.
For most of the part, Film production companies did not have a way in which they could create films that would cater to every individual inclusive of the people with disabilities. As much as they had incredible film ideas, with good scene shots and sound, they always tried to make their films accessible to the Deaf community. Over time, they came up with Closed captions which worked really well and brought inclusivity for the deaf community. Closed captions were made possible because of transcriptionists and the service they offer which is transcription. Transcription is converting audio/video files into text or written format.
This process enabled film production houses to have their video files converted into written format and later on synchronized on the original film videos in order for the deaf community to interact with them easily. Simply the closed captions allow viewers to consume your content granting them access and simultaneously increasing your audience.
2. Better Comprehension
I find it quite easy to understand a video or an audio file that has closed captions than one that doesn’t. Human beings don’t sound the same when they speak and this is influenced by factors like speed, intonation, accent, mother tongue influence, and so-and-so forth. Trying to comprehend an audio file of a man with an Indian accent would be really hard for someone who is not an Indian and that is exactly where closed captions come into play. Research has shown that it is easy to interact with an audio/video file that has closed captions because it makes it easier for individuals to comprehend. It’s more like a cognitive reinforcement on how the human brain works because when you read and listen at the same time, it makes it easier to grasp and remember the information.
3. Legal Compliance
As I mentioned on point number one, the deaf community had been sidelined for a long while and a law was passed to make sure that all service providers complied with ensuring that inclusivity for all people living with disability was paramount. People hard of hearing are in the workforce and in an educational setting which means making resources accessible to them should be as important as anything else. So, using closed captions will definitely make sure you are complying with a law which means you will not be on the wrong side of the law if push comes to shove. Many organizations have been sued for not including closed captions on their online content so will follow the law and do the right thing. Closed captioning standards for television and media broadcasts in the US are strictly regulated by the FCC.
Closed captioning requirements are written directly into Section 508, and are often applied to Section 504. Many states have “mini 508” laws as well. The Section 508 refresh was released in January 2017, and now references WCAG 2.0 guidelines as the accessibility standards to meet, which includes both captioning and audio description requirements.
4. Enhances the viewers’ experience.
The use of closed captions has really enhanced viewer experience for viewers who are not Native speakers of the language in play. Depending on what language is being used in a film, it is very easy for a viewer to learn the language without necessarily having to take classes for it. It is very possible for a viewer to 100% understand a foreign language if they take it upon themselves to watch foreign films which have closed captions of languages they actually understand. A study by Michigan State University concluded that “captions are beneficial because they result in greater depth of processing by focusing attention, reinforce the acquisition of vocabulary through multiple modalities, and allow learners to determine meaning through the unpacking of language chunks.”
5. Flexible Viewing in Sound-Sensitive Environments
When audio/video files have closed captions, it makes it very easy for someone to interact with them when in a sound-sensitive environment. A good example would be, if you are in a library and you so happen not to have your headphones, any content that has closed captions will be really simple to interact with. You can simply mute the audio and enjoy the content through the closed captions. Captions will always be in place to convey the speech when the sound is obscured.
6. Increased SEO and Video Views
In a world where the world is a global village and everyone is trying to introduce their business to the internet world, we all know how important search engine optimization is. We are all quite aware that search engines cannot search audios or videos and that is why adding closed captions to your content will boost your SEO. Including a script on your video files will make it easier for search engines to peruse through your content, which will make indexing really easy and fast. An increase in search engine optimization will see an increase in video views which will later transform into either passive income for your online content or more sales for any products and services that you might be selling. Research has shown that videos with closed captions on YouTube receive way more views than those without.
7. Video Search and User Experience
I am sure everyone has experienced how hard it is to get information on a specific topic when searching on YouTube. This is because search engines can’t really crawl through videos and get information. What I simply mean is that video content that has no type of text is not as searchable as video content that has transcripts on them. When you include closed captions on your videos that are extensive and inclusive, it makes it easy for individuals to search for a particular kind of content and be directed to your video. Users are able to search for keywords where search engines pick them up and suggest different video files. If there is a particular spot in the video a user wants to jump to, all they have to do is click the word, and the video will start playing at that spot. You can also search for a specific word on a video by scanning the whole video library for the keyword using a playlist search. That seamless user experience boosts user experience and overall customer satisfaction.
8. Easy Creation of Derivative Content
When it comes to content creation, content creators have ways in which they can use one content to come up with derivative content from one specific video. One can use an already recorded audio or filmed video to create clips, reels, and montages. It would be really hard to know what clips you need to form an hour-long video without the aid of closed captions or any form of a transcript. To make this less daunting and tiresome, it is very important to include some form of a transcript on your audio/video files so that you can just search and get the scenes you want to use for your derivative content. These transcripts can later be turned into blog posts which will create some form of passive income for your business in the long run.
9. Easy Translation into Foreign Languages
Film production companies who deal with film dubbing, always have a need to translate their scripts into different languages in order to make the dubbing process possible. Imagine trying to translate a film that doesn’t have a script. It is very possible to do this but this process usually ends up being very long and tedious for translators. This is because they have to create the script by transcribing the video file and then translating it. Creating closed captions for your video files that you plan to dub into other languages is very important because it lessens the workload and the budget you have to set aside to have them transcribed and then translated. Video dubbing and translation are in high demand now more than ever because foreigners have access to content that they wouldn’t have access to had it not been for the internet. So be sure to include closed captions in order to make the translation a bit more pleasing and comfortable. Apart from helping your content reach a greater audience, translating your videos will also help boost your search engine optimization ratings. These are but some benefits that using closed captions on your audio/video files brings. When you start using them, you will start noticing more benefits that I haven’t mentioned but one thing I know for sure is that they will boost your business to the next level.