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The Importance of Closed Captioning

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Closed captioning is a familiar term. But since the start of the pandemic, the massive switch over to online meetings, classes and videos has made the need to close caption especially apparent. 

While the terms “closed captioning” and “subtitles” are often used interchangeably, they are actually two separate, and different, things. While both are text alternatives for dialogue, closed captioning also explains any added sound effects, for example, a phone ringing or an actor clicking their tongue. This added context can be crucial to fully understand the story or message of a video. Subtitles only include the dialogue of a video and don’t have this added context. 

Closed captioning is essential for those who are deaf and hard of hearing to engage with video content. Without it, an entire community is excluded who could have become loyal customers or subscribers. When a business or individual makes the effort to include closed captioning, it shows how they are taking into consideration different communication needs that are not only invaluable for those who are deaf and hard of hearing, but for other groups as well. 

Those learning English as a second language also benefits from close captioning. When closed captions are added to videos it gives Second Language learners the opportunity to better understand the English spoken, to improve and become stronger English speakers. 

Additionally, we know that each individual has their own learning style. Using closed captioning can benefit those who absorb information through reading and writing or anyone who has a mix of different learning styles. The possibilities closed captioning provides are endless! 

Closed captioning is often associated with movies and TV shows but as more online platforms include options and technology for including closed captions, it has never been easier to ensure that your videos, no matter the platform, are accessible to everyone. Signable Vision even has instructions for including closed captioning on different websites. 

You can take steps today to ensure that your content and workplace are inclusive to those of different communication support needs. Closed captioning will not only make your videos accessible to different groups of people, but it’s also, simply, the right thing to do!

Additional Resources 

6 reasons closed captioning is important in media

Deaf Awareness Week: the importance of closed captions

The Importance Of Closed Captioning In Everyday Life – Second Chance Hearing Inc

Closed Captioning Benefits More than the Deaf and HoH

How Closed Captions Help ESL Learners Improve Their English Skills

How Do Different Learning Styles Benefit from Transcription?