Making wordever matters to you, matter.

Subtitles vs. Captions: What are the differences?

Introduction #

Okay, here comes another comparison post!

Subtitles and Captions, the two completely different words are used frequently (and sometimes erroneously) in our daily conversations.

Today, let’s spare 5 minutes and get them straight!

Definition and key distinctions #

Before we dive into anything just yet, let’s just have a general idea of what is what.

Subtitles: The text that appears in a playing media that is translated in other languages.
Captions: The text that appears in a playing media that is in the video language itself.

All set? Let’s look at some key distinctions below.

AspectSubtitlesCaptions
DefinitionThe text that appears in a playing media that is translated in other languages.The text that appears in a playing media that is in the video language itself.
Translated?Yes, into other languagesNo, in video language
Types1. Regular subtitles

2. SDH (Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing)
1. Open captions

2. Closed captions
Introduction of speaker’s identityRegular subtitles – No

SDH – Yes
Open captions – Yes

Closed captions – Yes
Inclusion of non-speech elementsRegular subtitles – No

SDH – Yes
Open captions – Yes

Closed captions – Yes
Ability to turn it on or offRegular subtitles – Yes/No, usually regular subtitles will be burnt into videos

SDH – Yes
Open captions – No, open captions will be burnt into video

Closed captions – Yes

Examples #

Great, it’s time for some examples then!

Check out the pictures below that I took from our Audiovisual Localization page.

Conclusion #

Whether it’s subtitling or captioning, the point is to help your audience understand the message of the video.

However, these both processes can be quite complex because it’s not just about the dialogues or speeches. Timecodes, on-screen texts, speaker’s and non-speech element’s tagging, shot changes and more features need to be taken into consideration when creating subtitles or captions (especially when you want to create them from scratch, which will involve another process called Transcription).

That’s why we are more than happy to assist because audiovisual localization is our thing. Everyone should be able to watch and enjoy your videos, don’t you agree?

Talk with an expert first before you decide anything. It’s completely free, no strings attached.

If you are not ready today, bookmark this page and find us later.

We are available 24/7 and we usually respond in 15 minutes.

Get my FREE quote now

open

Would you like to get a $20 USD offer for your next order?