Get Started Now
SUBTITLES, Closed CAPTIONS and Open CAPTIONS
Captions and subtitles are distinct but overlap in many ways. While both display text on the screen, the purpose for using each is different. Let’s taken a closer look at the differences.
The Differences Between Captions and Subtitles
Captions are a text version of the spoken part of a television, movie, or computer presentation. They are in the language of the medium rather than a translation to another language.
Captions can either be open or closed. Closed captions can be turned on or off with the click of a button. Open captions are different from closed captions in that they are part of the video itself and cannot be turned off.
Subtitles are translations for people who don’t speak the language of the medium. These accompany foreign films for example.
Standard subtitles assume the viewer hears the audio. Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are written for viewers who may not be able to hear the audio. SDHH contain information about background sounds and speaker changes, along with a translation of the script.
The Differences Between Open and Closed Captions
Open captions, also known as burned-in, baked on or hard-coded captions, are seen by everyone who watches the video. Open captions are a permanent feature on the video and can’t be turned on and off. Open captions are often used for videos which are being played on website video players that don’t have closed captioning functionality.
Closed captions give viewers the option of switching the captions on or off while watching a video. They are the most common form of captioning and can be identified by the [CC] symbol. Closed captions can only be displayed when the media player or video sharing site (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo) being used supports it.