The User Benefits of Subtitles: What Video Producers Need to Know
Think about a time you got completely immersed in watching something. Maybe it was a comedic video your friend shared with you or a heartfelt drama that you streamed online. Unlike other mediums, like written words or podcasts, video is a complete experience. It’s meant to combine audio and visual elements. If audio is missing for any reason, the video content becomes much less impactful and engaging. That’s where the benefits of subtitles come in.
Subtitles complete the experience for many users. They’re more than simply words appearing on the screen. They add to the audience’s comprehension of the video – what’s being said, what’s happening, and the inner workings of its characters. That “lost” feeling that a lack of audio provides? Subtitles can help viewers regain their footing.
If you produce any kinds of videos, whether they’re full-length films or quick-hitting educational videos, you should strongly consider adding subtitles. The benefits of subtitles are plentiful and will make your content far more enjoyable for your audience.
Benefits of Subtitles For Users
When you’re developing video content, the viewer is the most important thing to consider. Of course, you want to create something you’re proud of that fits with your vision and strategy. However, if your viewers aren’t happy, your content won’t go anywhere. Mick Jagger may not get any satisfaction, but you can ensure your audience does by including subtitles and engaging with them. As a producer, here are the top six benefits you should consider before skipping subtitles in your video.
A Complete Video Experience
Take a moment to reflect on why you picked video to distribute your message in the first place. You could have written an article or a book, recorded a podcast, or even penned a strongly worded letter. Yet you chose video for a reason: the complete experience that it provides. Audio and video combine to form a powerful message. Without subtitles, a producer is defeating the entire purpose of video.
What’s the difference between subtitles and captions? Both are displayed as text on the screen but subtitles represent a translation of the dialogue while captions are simply a timed transcript of the audio. Captions are to benefit those who are deaf or hard of hearing, while subtitles generally translate a video to the viewer’s native language. Captioning includes things like background noises or speaker differentiation, while subtitles are timed transcriptions of audio files and are often created in advance of a video’s release.
Professional subtitle writers have a special gift of knowing how to write and pace the subtitles in a way that isn’t distracting. Rather, the subtitles add to the experience for all viewers keeping them interested in your content.
Better Learning Opportunities
When you were growing up, did you ever have a “video day” in one of your classes? Sure, it may have just been because your teacher had a headache, but video is frequently used in classrooms as an aid to teachers’ lesson plans. In history class, a video can help transport students to a different part of the world. Meanwhile, a music teacher may share video of a musical legend so the class can see a master at work while hearing the beautiful results.
Even outside of school, companies will use videos to teach employees, whether they’re onboarding a new hire, giving media training to executives, or unveiling a new initiative within the company.
By adding subtitles to videos, a producer is creating a better learning environment. If users find that video is the easiest to understand because of the available subtitles, they’re more likely to share and use the video – expanding your audience.
Once a video is uploaded online, anyone with an internet connection can view and share it. One of the benefits of subtitles is that a non-native speaker can understand what’s going on with subtitles included – they won’t feel left out. Without subtitles, non-native speakers may simply skip your video. Even if the subtitles aren’t in their native language, people find it easier to understand the written language and prefer subtitles over nothing at all.
Other people simply cannot watch a video without subtitles. They’re so used to them that they may actually throw a fit if they’re unavailable. You may catch the wrath of a dissatisfied viewer on social media or email, simply because you didn’t make their viewing experience complete.
Think globally about your video content and your audience will thank you for it.
Flexible Viewing Options
85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound. That’s a staggering number, and there’s a multitude of reasons why someone may forgo sound. They could be scrolling during their workday, or in a crowded setting and don’t have headphones available. The default setting for most video players is muted sound, anyway; sometimes, a person is unwilling to hit the volume button to unmute and will watch without any noises.
Producers should make their videos easier for viewers to enjoy, not more complicated. No matter what environment the viewer is in, they can reap the benefits of subtitles. With no sound? You may find you have no audience or at least a more frustrated one.
Among other benefits, videos with subtitles tend to get more engagement. When a viewer can follow along with the video, they’re far more likely to stay focused on its content. The brain requires extra resources to hear and process information. However, if your audience can read that information, they’re more likely to retain it. Especially in an age where attention spans are dropping like flies, better engagement is more essential than ever to high-performing videos.
Additionally, viewers are much more likely to comment on and discuss the video with subtitles. If they can’t remember a quote word-for-word, they can look at the subtitles and make sure they get it correctly. It’s a lot easier for them to reference a particular moment, and a producer is making sure no one is excluded from the conversation when the video has subtitles.
Think back to that video you saw online that you really enjoyed. Perhaps it was full of funny or quotable moments, or you found it useful for accomplishing a task around the house. And maybe you enjoyed it so much that you shared it with a friend or family member. Whatever your reason, you found value in the video and wanted to make sure others did, too.
It’s the same thing with producing videos. The best way to get your video content in front of the most people is to make it both easy and valuable for viewers to share it with their networks. You’re creating all of this great content – why wouldn’t you want to maximize the potential reach of your audience?
Without subtitles, comprehension and engagement will decrease and discourage viewers from sharing your video. People love being the first one to share or introduce something new to those they’re close with, whether it’s a video, musician, or author. There’s a sense of satisfaction we get in sharing that content.
Providing subtitles gives those people a chance to truly look like an expert. They have the opportunity to offer value to someone they know, and you’re encouraging them to distribute your video beyond your own, individual reach.
The benefits of subtitles are extensive, and all you need to do on your end is include them in your video.
Add Subtitles to Your Video Today
You don’t have to understand any kind of fancy algorithm to know that a better viewer experience leads to a better performing video. When you’re producing video content, you’ll benefit from all of the value a viewer gets from using subtitles. Value like increased learning opportunities, better engagement, flexible viewing options, and an easier way to share that content among family and friends.