Why captions are important? 8 good reasons

Carolina Kluck, 1st April 2020

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It is widely known that captioning a video not only promotes digital inclusion for those viewers with hearing impairments but that it also greatly improves the user-friendliness of your content. But why captions are important? This is our takeaway in 8 points.

1. Make your content easier to understand

To be honest – this point would actually already be enough to stop what you’re doing right now and start captioning your videos immediately. Because captions and subtitles improve the comprehension of your content in more than just one way:

  • Specific terms and proper names can be – thanks to subtitles – absorbed and understood the first time they are heard or read.
  • Content including foreign languages or strong accents can be followed a lot easier on subtitled videos. Obviously it is also possible to provide subtitles in more than just one language for a video to reach a wider audience.
  • Background noises and poor video or audio quality can be compensated by adding subtitles since they make sure that it is still possible to follow the content or the story line.

2. Engage your audience everywhere

Regardless of the time and place, subtitled videos not only make your content accessible for everyone – but everywhere and at any time! Probably you have already experienced it yourself – you are in a noisy location like in the public transport or at the office, you forgot your headphones or own those kinds of headphones that equally entertain the people around you, but you still want to watch a video!

It’s quite simple. By adding captions to your videos, your audience can keep on watching, without them there is no point in watching the video since you probably wouldn’t pick up a single thing. And that’s a loss on both sides: the provider does not reach as many people as he could (research has shown that over 80% of the videos on social media are watched on mute!) and the users miss valuable and enriching content.

3. Improve SEO score and Searchability

By adding captions you make not only all your archives searchable but also each and every video! And that’s not only an internal advantage. Every search engine works text-based. With subtitles you will significantly improve the SEO of your videos, meaning that search engines can find and rank your content and thus increase the traffic of your videos.

4. Improve your language skills and train your competence

Nowadays it’s quite common to learn a new language online or via an app. Did you know that the learning effect can be additionally increased by watching videos in the language you are learning with corresponding subtitles? But not only that: Studies also show that subtitles are extraordinarily helpful to students or people that are diagnosed with learning disabilities, attention deficits or autism. The following links provide further information and results on that topic:

5. Interculturality

Subtitled videos give access to a whole new world: The world of foreign cultures. Only a fraction of movies or videos are translated into more languages – and without subtitles, we definitely miss out! With subtitles, everyone has access to these movies or videos – regardless of the O-tone.

Why captions are important

6. Repurpose of content

With captions and transcripts you can easily give your content a new purpose: You can for instance create a blogpost on your video content or write a summary, an article etc.. – everything is possible!

7. Farewell concentration fatigue

Very long videos or movies with over-length are prone to be tiring at a certain point. The consequence of that is a lack in concentration and missing a lot of the content. Adding subtitles to your videos can help with that! Because they help to stay focused and to relax the brain even when it’s confronted with strong accents, complicated content, disturbing background noises or tiring lengths. The following link leads you to an interesting article on concentration fatigue in connection with deafness: https://hearmeoutcc.com/concentration-fatigue-affects-deaf-people/

8. Translations are based on captions and transcripts

Once you have a transcript or captions of your content, you can easily translate it or let it be translated (which, by the way, increases your geographical reach significantly!)

Looking for a step-by-step? Read our guide on How to Generate Automatic Subtitles with AmberScript!