Tips for Captioning & Subtitling Your Corporate Video

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Have a corporate video that you want to show to a wide audience, from local employees to the general public around the world? Captioning & subtitling are great, cost effective ways to use the same video to reach a local and global audience.

Text combined with video makes sure that your message comes across clearly and is understood by others. In this blog we’ll go over why captioning & subtitling improves your corporate videos, the difference between burned-in and text-based captions/subtitles, and how to prepare your text and video for captioning & subtitling.

[Average read time: 4 minutes]

person wearing watch near laptop

photo by NordWood

Why Captions & Subtitles are Great for Corporate Videos

First, let’s briefly review what captions and subtitles are:

Captions are text of audio information necessary to understand the content in the same language as the dialogue in the video, including: dialogue, non-verbal sounds, sound effects, and musical cues. Subtitles are translated text of the video dialogue and on-screen titles, but exclude non-verbal sounds (grunts, yells, etc…). Subtitles are for viewers that don’t understand the language used in the video. Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) include all the audio elements of captions and the visual title elements of subtitles.

Here are some top benefits of captioning & subtitling:

  1. Accessibility: Captioning for your home country and SDH for people abroad are great ways for you to reach those that have hearing accessibility issues. This may also be a requirement in order to comply to your area’s disability laws.
  2. Increased watch time: According to studies on Facebook and YouTube videos, its been shown that the duration watched and likelihood that a viewer will watch until the end is higher for videos with captions/subtitles as opposed to videos without text.
  3. Focus & engagement: the text serves as a visual reinforcement of the content on screen, helping keep viewers focused and engaged as they follow along.
  4. No need for headphones: viewers may be able to watch captioned/subtitled videos in sound-sensitive environments (e.g. public transportation, break room) without headphones.
  5. Multilingual: Subtitles for your corporate video in multiple languages will make sure that the message of your video is communicated clearly to individuals that speak that language. If the CEO or other major executive is speaking in the video, subtitles allow for the original audio to be heard so that the audience are better able to connect to the company representative.

These are just a few of the major benefits of subtitling and captioning your corporate videos. Now let’s see how you’d like your captions/subtitles delivered.

person touching and pointing MacBook Pro

photo by  Mimi Thian

Burned-in vs Text-Based Captions/Subtitles

Captions and subtitles can be delivered in two ways: burned into the video or received as a separate text file. Here are some distinctions between the two:

For burned-in captions/subtitles, the text is exported with the video and cannot be separated. Also known as “baked-in,” burned-in captions/subtitles allow for better control over the positioning and formatting of the text before distribution. It is also more secure: the messaging in the video cannot be altered since the text and the video are combined. These videos also can be distributed on any video platform since it does not require additional text support.

One must keep in mind though that with burned-in subtitles a separate video will need to be exported for each target language. This means more time and labor will be needed in comparison to text-based subtitles.

Text-based captions/subtitles are subtitles that are delivered as a formatted text file (e.g. SRT, VTT, TTML) and are popular for streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. A major benefit of text-based captions/subtitles is scalability: one video can be used for all markets. It requires creating a text file for each language instead of having to re-export the video for each language.

Also, after a video has been released, if there is any customization needed to the text, the text file can be replaced with an updated text file instead of re-exporting and replacing the whole video. However, this also poses a security issue: it’s easier for a hacker to edit and change the text file of a video or to possibly leak the text of an internal company video to a public audience.

Another thing to keep in mind: subtitle text formats like SRT don’t globally support positioning or formatting information. Also, the distribution platform used must be able to support text formats and even if it does, not all platforms support all text formats.

When choosing between burned-in and text-based captions/subtitles, be sure to weigh the security of your messaging and branding versus time and distribution costs and scalability.

person using MacBook pro turned on

photo by Matthew Kwong

Preparing the Text and Video for Captioning & Subtitling

To prepare a corporate video for captioning and subtitling, first all the audio elements should be transcribed. Also, if there are any on-screen titles (signs, animations, etc…) that need to be translated, those should be counted and transcribed as well. On-screen titles that move are more difficult to subtitle than static titles, therefore they should be differentiated. The position of an onscreen title will affect the positioning of the subtitles and should be adjusted accordingly (e.g. if a title appears at the bottom, the subtitle needs to be moved to the top of the screen). You should also decide on a font that is easy to read.

Another consideration for burned-in captions and subtitles is the type of video format that you want. A popular format that helps reduce the size of the file while still maintaining quality is the MP4/H264 format that is used on most major video platforms. However, if you want the highest quality video, a full resolution, uncompressed format is an option, though these files can be quite large and take longer to prepare.

From this blog hopefully you’ve seen how captioning and subtitling is great for your video, differences between burned-in versus text-based captions/subtitles, and other important considerations to prepare your video for captioning and subtitling. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions and would like a free quote.

Download our free e-book below with need to know captioning and subtitling terms to get an accurate quote for your video:

Click to download JBI Studio’s Glossary of Captioning & Subtitling Terms.