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During the silent film era, viewers had to rely on captions to know and understand what the characters were saying. When the film industry evolved to a point where visual and video play in sync, captions were no longer required. Well, that’s what they thought. Read on to learn the difference between captions vs. subtitles and to find out what benefits they have for your viewers.

First, let’s get one thing straight. Are captions and subtitles the same? Although they are often used interchangeably and may overlap in many ways, they are a bit different from each other.

What’s the Difference Between Captions Vs. Subtitles?

Captions are the written text version of a video’s audio in the same language it’s spoken.
Subtitles, on the other hand, are the translated version of the spoken language in a video.

If there’s one technique you want to apply to your videos to optimize its effect on viewers, regardless of age, reading skills, literacy, and native language, it’s displaying captions and subtitles in your videos. Using a free online video editor, you can easily add captions or subtitles to help boost the benefits that viewers from around the world can enjoy.

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Not Just for the Deaf Community

Nowadays, one of the main reasons why video creators add captions to their content is to make it viewable by people with hearing impairments or difficulty in hearing. But captions are not just for those who are hard at hearing.

Based on a study on the effects of visual and caption displays on deaf students, captions are as beneficial to students who can hear as they are to those who couldn’t. Even though the audio is loud and clear, hearing students prefer watching videos that have captions as they serve as a support system that helps them understand and absorb the information better.

subtitles vs. captions, Woman with laptop

Captions and subtitles have so many advantages that they should be a part of every video.

Children Learning to Read

Videos can help children learn words and language. Adding captions can take that learning process to a whole new level as it gives children the opportunity to learn how to read text.

Reading requires children to map the sound and meaning of words into text. By adding captions to videos, they can do exactly that.

Children who watch videos with captions are more likely to pronounce words correctly, learn and recognize new vocabulary, know how to place and use words within a sentence structure.

Digital Marketing

Videos can help businesses establish their online presence better with the use of captions and subtitles. While captions make a video more viewable even in silent mode, subtitles allow non-native language users to understand what the video is about, as long as it’s properly translated.

Also, captioned video ads help viewers remember brands better.

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College and University Students

With the trend of distance learning getting more popular in this day and age, videos have become essential for effective education. Compared to written learning materials, videos are easier to consume and digest. But adding captions to educational videos helps students remember the content better.

Captions vs. subtitles

Including subtitles can help students retain what they are studying.

Learning a Second Language

You can easily learn new languages online nowadays. Although audio and visual materials are accessible, the technique used for teaching may greatly influence how much and how quickly you will learn the language.

While audio-only lessons help you learn to pronounce words and recognize how they sound, videos give you a visual aid that can enhance the learning process. But when captions of the new language are added to the video, the written, listening, auditory, and comprehension skills and performance of the learner are better.

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Conclusion: Captions Vs. Subtitles

Captions and subtitles are definitely a huge help in improving a person’s video-watching experience. Whether for personal, business, or educational purposes, they are a must-have element in all types of videos. Automated speech recognition may not be as accurate as human-led translation services, but both have the potential to boost literacy, learning, and brand recognition worldwide.