Closed Captioning: The Key to Accessible and Inclusive Media

Closed captioning and subtitles – maybe you’ve heard of them but aren’t sure about the differences. Nonetheless, having some knowledge of these is critical to delivering your content to the widest audience possible. When combined with other accessibility tools, you’ll be able to ensure everyone understands your message. But don’t worry if you haven’t got a clue where to start! We’ll tell you what captions are, why they’re important, what is the difference between captions and subtitles, and how to use them in your own videos. We’ll also briefly cover additional accessibility tools.

What Is Closed Captioning?

Closed Captioning

Closed captions are textual descriptions of the audio content in a video or broadcast displayed on the screen. They provide a written representation of the dialogue, sound effects, and other audio information in a program.

Difference between Closed captions and subtitles

Closed captions differ from subtitles in two main ways. The first relates to the content. Subtitles show the spoken words and supplement the viewing experience for people who can hear. Captions, on the other hand, report anything audible to the viewers, such as sound effects or music. They also identify who is speaking.

Another difference between them is technical. Subtitles are part of the video – viewers cannot turn them on and off. Closed captioning is much more flexible. It is a separate text file that the video player can interpret and display if desired. Captions may not just be at the bottom of the video but may move around to accommodate other text displayed on the screen.

Why Is It Important?

For the deaf or hard of hearing, closed captioning is an essential communication tool. If you convey information purely verbally, deaf people miss out on what is happening. Without captions, people with hearing disabilities can’t enjoy TV shows, movies, or internet content. And being able to access information without relying on someone else to interpret it is vital for a sense of autonomy.

Additionally, some have auditory processing deficits. For example, ADHD, autism, and APD all come with unique challenges in understanding oral information. Because some brains are wired differently, it’s not always as easy to take in spoken words. Captions mean that your message will come across more easily to a wide variety of disabled viewers. And depending on your local jurisdiction, you may have a legal obligation to provide subtitles, closed captions, or a transcript.

But ultimately, everyone can benefit from captioning. Have you ever been in a noisy environment and struggled to hear a television? If the TV had subtitles, you would have been able to understand the program. And sometimes, we need to watch a video in a quiet environment without the sound on. These are just some instances where people might find closed captions useful.

How to Add Captions

To add text to a video, it helps to have a complete script of the recording first. If you haven’t got one, take the time to transcribe the audio. Don’t forget to include the sound effects and identify who is speaking.

Next, you’ll need to create an SRT file so that the computer knows when to put the words on the screen. You can make this document in any basic text editor. Then, you create a numbered list of the captions and their timings. The file must be in a specific format so the video player can read it.

Other Accessibility Considerations

If you’re uploading your video to a website, you should also think about how people with disabilities will access the information. For example, if someone is blind or visually impaired, they may rely on screen readers to navigate the internet. Some key questions to consider are:

  • Are you using access-sensitive codings like semantic HTML and ARIA attributes?
  • Can people navigate your website with a keyboard instead of a mouse?
  • Have you added a short description (alt text) to all of your images?
  • Does your website have high-contrasting colors to improve the experience of the visually impaired?

How to Easily Caption Your Media

Many sites, such as YouTube, now offer automated captioning. Now, this seems like an easy solution. Unfortunately, the results can vary tremendously, especially with technical terms or non-standard accents. To accurately capture the audio in your media, human-based captioning services are the best solution.

If you’re not confident writing captions for your own videos, companies like GoTranscript can help. They specialize in creating closed captions, as well as subtitles and audio transcripts. Such providers deliver accurate captions with a fast turnaround time and competitive pricing. Click here to find out more and start making your videos accessible to a broader audience.

Access is for Everyone

Access is for everyone

Captions are a vital tool in creating inclusive media. We all need to do our bit to make sure that everyone, regardless of ability, can access information. Closed captioning is an easy way to start opening up knowledge to the whole of society and making the world a fairer place.


Adding captions to your videos will help to spread your content to more audiences and get more reach. Captions are added to the media mainly for the viewers who can’t hear the audio of the video. As discussed in this article there is lots of difference between Closed Captions and subtitles and hope you had an idea regarding both of them.

I hope this tutorial helped you to know about Closed Captioning: The Key to Accessible and Inclusive Media. If you want to say anything, let us know through the comment sections. If you like this article, please share it and follow WhatVwant on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more Technical tips.

Closed Captioning: The Key to Accessible and Inclusive Media – FAQs

What is the difference between subtitles and closed captioning?

While Video subtitles are intended for viewers who can’t understand the language being spoken, captions are intended for viewers who can’t hear the audio.

Is CC better than regular subtitles?

Closed captions will more closely convey what is going on on-screen, while subtitles will provide a useful translation of the dialogue in another language.

Is Closed Captioning automatic?

Automated closed captioning systems provide a faster way of making the content we all love more accessible to everyone. Generally, ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) is used to create an automated system.

What are the benefits of Closed Captioning?

Closed Captions provides viewers clarity on mentions of full names, brand names, or technical terminology. Closed captions help maintain concentration and engagement, which can provide a better experience for viewers with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, or autism.

What are examples of closed captioning?

Some examples of Closed Captioning are laughter, applause, ominous music, the lyrics to a song playing in the background, etc.,

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