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How Do You Differentiate Subtitles And Closed Captions?


You may know that captions and even subtitles are very similar, but they just aren’t the same. Captions are a transcription of dialogue, but subtitles are a translation. They both show as text at the bottom of the screen and most of the time, they represent the speech dialogue between characters. Netflix, as a big streaming company, has some of the highest standards when it comes to closed captioning and subtitles and a lot of companies are trying to compete with them. If you are not sure which option is the best one for you then take a look below.

Subtitles VS Closed Captions?

Captions come in two forms. You have open or closed captions. It should be noted that if you have CC, or closed captions, that this can be turned off by the click of a button. If you have open captions on the other hand, then this will be embedded in the video and you cannot turn them off. Captions are of a very particular use to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The main reason for this is because they include background noise, speaker differentiation and various other information which is relevant to the sound that is being translated. Unlike CART captions or closed captions, subtitles assume that viewers can hear, and therefore are used when the viewer doesn’t speak the same language that is being used in the video. This could include subtitles in the language which is spoken in the distributed country. Subtitles are timed transcriptions of audio files and they are normally developed before the release of a film or even a TV show.

Closed Captions

Closed captioning on public television is developed to try and mandate accessibility as part of the ADA, or Americans with Disability Act. The guidelines of this law happen to stipulate that every multimedia that is made public, whether it is on late-night television or even in the classroom, has to be captioned. This was done so that it prevented any discrimination. The best thing about captions is that they can be typed in a live setting. The text is encoded right onto the television signal and this means that the packets of data can then be translated right into the living room. If you watch The View or even Saturday Night Live, you will see that there are live typists who are working to try and record every single moment that is happening. The data for any captions which are housed in a Blu-Ray or DVD is housed in a channel on the MPEG video stream.

All in all, subtitles and closed captions have made it much easier for people to understand the information which is being presented to them and it is now required for any kind of data to have some form of subtitle. For this reason, the  transcription industry is now thriving more than ever before and the deaf and hard-of-hearing are finding more inclusivity in their daily lives.

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