Subtitles are a crucial part of the video production process, providing access to your videos for disabled users, as well as a convenient tool for others who want to read along. Each user has a different need when it comes to your content, and a subtitling solution is vital in providing a high-quality service to all.
Professional subtitling services can offer lots of different subtitling solutions, from closed captions to open captions, as well as subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. To decide which, you need to understand the accessibility requirements of your audience and what is relevant in the context of your media content. So, you’ll need to know the answers to the following questions…
1. Who Is It for?
You must know about the audience you have. Without this knowledge, it’s impossible to provide the right subtitling experience for them. Think about your users – do they have specific access requirements? Or perhaps they’re of an age where the subtitles need to be larger or more obvious, such as children or the elderly. The more you understand about your audience, the better the subtitling solution you choose for them will be.
2. What is the Content Purpose?
Next, it’s important to determine the purpose of your content. If it’s to simply show a series of visual elements, there might not be a need to provide subtitles. However, if your content is explaining a concept or providing educational information to viewers, you’ll need to make sure your subtitles are accurate and concise. In this context, relying on auto-captioning programs simply won’t cut it, and risk diluting the quality of your content.
The way your subtitles are displayed can affect the viewing experience too. If the main focus is on the visual elements, it’s worth making your subtitles slightly smaller so they don’t detract from the video.
3. What is Relevant?
When you’re writing your subtitles, it’s easy to assume that you have to provide descriptions of every element of the audio. But this isn’t always the case. Some sounds, such as background music won’t need to be subtitled. In fact, including them can actually make it more complex for your user to understand what’s happening in your video.
So, make sure you only choose relevant information to include in your subtitles. Aside from spoken audio, sounds that affect the context of a video such as a bang, will need to be included so that your audience can still follow along successfully.
4. Are there Other Accessibility Requirements?
When you’re producing video content for your brand or a client, accessibility is a hugely important factor to consider. It’s a well-known fact that we all interact with technology, and the internet, in different ways – but media content like video isn’t easy for everyone.
The neurodiversity amongst users, and differing abilities that internet users have, mean that simply publishing video content without making it accessible excludes a lot of people from consuming your content. But thanks to technology, it’s now possible to make sure everyone can access your video content.