What is the difference between captioning and transcription?

difference between captioning and transcription
Author:Marketing and Sales

Oct 21, 2021

In media creation and distribution, words like captioning and transcription gained more prominence as video gained popularity. However, there are many questions like, what is the difference between captioning and transcription, and which the content creator and broadcaster should use? Before we answer these questions, let us first understand what captioning and transcription are.

Captioning and Transcription – Definition

Captions are the textual version of the spoken part of a television, movie, or computer presentation. Captions make the videos accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Captions can further be classified as closed captions and open captions.

Open captions are burned in the video, and they cannot be turned off. Open captions are widely used when one doesn’t have control of a closed caption feature. On the other hand, closed captions are created as a sidecar, and they can be turned on or off. Closed captions are represented by the [CC] sign on the video. FCC regulations defined closed captions as the critical link to news, entertainment, and information for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Congress requires video programming distributors (VPDs) – cable operators, broadcasters, satellite distributors, and other multi-channel video programming distributors – to caption their TV programs.

Transcripts are, in many ways is similar to captions. Like captions, transcripts provide textual content for a video, but it is presented in a separate document via text file, word document, or PDF. Transcripts can be generated in multiple languages and can also be translated into another language.

Transcripts can be time indexed or plain text. A time-indexed transcription enables caption generation. Transcripts can be either audio or video transcripts. Audio transcripts are generated by converting speech in an audio file into text format. Audio transcription can range from public lectures to courtroom proceedings to financial markets to other digital recordings.

Video transcription is transcribing the audio from the given video into text format. Video transcripts are generated using speech-to-text technology, human transcriber, or a combination of both.

Benefits of captions and transcription

Captions –

  • Captions make the content accessible for not just deaf and hard-of-hearing but also viewers with learning disabilities and ESL (English as Secondary Language.)
  • Captions improve the SEO of the video allowing the search engines to scan the video for relevant keywords. A video with captions will have a better opportunity of ranking than one that doesn’t have captions.
  • Captions allow users to consume content in sound-sensitive environments, thus improving the user experience and average watch time.
  • Transcripts –

  • Transcription is an important accessibility tool for the audio-only source content. For example, podcasts with transcripts make them accessible for deaf and hear-of-hearing and ESL (English as Secondary Language) users.
  • Transcription increases the SEO ranking of the video content. Search engines can read the transcripts for a video, allowing them to rank higher up.
  • Video transcripts create a better user experience in terms of accessibility. Transcripts make it easier for the user to search the video for keywords and topics.
  • Both captioning and transcription make the content accessible for the viewers. However, it is essential to know what to use when. For example, a deaf student would need video captions and audio transcription. Only providing transcripts may not suffice as transcription is not enough to meet the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it mandatory to add captions to all life and pre-recorded video content.
  • Understanding different use cases will enable the content creator to make an informed decision which would help elevate the value of their content, improve ADA compliance, boost SEO, and create content more engageable for the user to consume.
  • Are you still confused whether to use captions or transcriptions to make your content more accessible and engaging, schedule a demo with our experts, or write to us at marketing@digital-nirvana.com.

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