The Latest Trends in Subtitling and Captioning

As the demand for content on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube increases, the number of videos with translated subtitles and captions has also increased. These international platforms receive subscriptions from all over the globe and are breaking down the barriers between the content we consume and the languages we speak.

People tend to use the words closed captions and subtitles interchangeably, but they are different way of providing text for an accompanying video. Closed captions are text that describe everything happening on screen, while subtitles just provide text for the audio and can be translated into different languages.

Streaming services are determined to reinvent the cable “wheel,” as some platforms release weekly episodes of exclusive content, and most of it is internationally received. South Korean shows and movies like Squid Game and Parasite were global hits and award-winning programs, and viewers in many countries could enjoy them thanks to translated subtitles and dubbed audio.

It is clear that translated subtitles, captions, and dubbing can expand the outreach of your video content. Let’s put the numbers of Squid Game in perspective: there are about 75 million people who speak Korean and about 125 million people who watched the series within the first 28 days of its Netflix release.

Linguists at Trusted Translations provide translation services in over 200 languages across multiple media platforms. In the digital era, it’s time we offer your company the services you need to reach every consumer in your market.

Captions Serve Many Purposes

However, captioning and subtitling media content does not only serve a purpose for linguistic reasons. Providing captions and subtitles for video can help your content achieve equal accessibility. The Oscar-winning film CODA provided open captions throughout the entire film, including music, subtitles with dialogue, and any other sounds happening on the screen.

But captions are not just for people who are hard-of-hearing. As more video content becomes compatible for mobile viewing, captions allow people to understand what’s happening on-screen without having to hear all the dialogue, music, and background noise. Have you ever hopped on the train and realized you forgot your headphones at home but really wanted to watch a YouTube video to help pass the time? Captions can help with that.

According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, many supporters of captioned media believe that movies with open captions can provide equal access to media to people who are hard of hearing, as well as to people who don’t speak the language of the film. Dubbed lip-syncing or audio voiceovers can provide the same accessibility to those with visual impairments.

The Younger Generation and Subtitles

Subtitles are a great way to keep your younger audiences engaged in your content. Younger people, the demographic most likely to frequently use the internet and social media, are becoming accustomed to consuming content with subtitles, even if they speak the content’s language.

Popular YouTubers, like Mr. Beast, quickly evaluated their international market and began creating alternate channels dubbed or captioned in other languages to accommodate for their viewers’ language preferences.

Short-form video content like Instagram Reels and TikTok videos provide captions and subtitles for users. The integration of subtitles has not only increased user accessibility but helped subtitled content become the norm for younger people.

As the fast-paced nature of social media has equipped younger people with the skill to take in a lot of information at once, subtitles are not perceived as an added layer of work, but as a helping hand to stay focused on the content they are consuming.

Subtitling and captioning content has many benefits pertaining to linguistics and accessibility, but it is also a preference for some to consume audiovisual content with subtitles and captions. The BBC reported that 80% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 prefer to watch content with subtitles.

However, in online media content, many platforms offer automated subtitles and closed captions. Auto captions can, more often than not, defeat the purpose of captions altogether. Many online creators use a platform’s auto captioning option because it is cheap, easy, and already built into the platform. Oftentimes auto captions are incorrect, as they don’t account for punctuation, capitalization, and are just downright incorrect.

All the big competitors in the multimedia industry are using accurate and sophisticated translation services to satisfy their consumers’ needs for subtitled and captioned content. But your company can do that, too. Let us know how our translation services can help you.


Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash