Captions are designed to increase video accessibility for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions are a transcription, usually word-for-word, of the video’s spoken dialogue, and may not exactly match the pacing of the dialogue or action. They may also include background noises, speaker differentiation, and other important audio information that helps a person understand the video without sound.
Captions usually appear as white text on a black bar, normally at the bottom of the screen. Videos may have open captions, which are permanently embedded into the video, but it is more common to have closed captions, which can be turned on and off.
Subtitles are a translated version of a video’s transcription, meant to give the viewer a real-time experience of what is happening on screen. These subtitles usually appear as text on the bottom of the screen. Typically subtitles are intended for use by viewers who do not speak the language used in the video, but who can still hear other sounds, like music, and can tell which person is speaking.
Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (SDH), however, also include important non-dialogue information, such as speaker identification or sound effects. If a viewer cannot hear the video, the additional information in these subtitles can aid in comprehension.
Subtitles Add Value to Video
No matter where your audience is located, subtitles are a valuable addition to your video content. One in five Americans speaks English as a second language (ESL), of which 41% think they speak English “less than very well.” That equates to more than 25 million ESL viewers who may need a little help understanding every word spoken in an English-language video. Plus, subtitles can help them increase their English-language proficiency by helping them understand slang, regional accents, and other nuances of language.
Subscene has been around since around 2005, offering subtitles in various languages, including those specially designed for the hearing impaired. The interface is simple, with a prominent search bar at the top, and popular movies and forum posts listed on the front page.
It offers regular updates from users, with a sign-up page allowing you to submit your own subtitles. Both movie and TV subtitles are available, as well as subtitles for popular music videos.
If you’re struggling with the site, you can post on the community forum. This has hundreds of discussions, with posts in various languages offering discussions and tutorials.
Each movie has an individual entry page that lists information on the movie itself, like the year of release, with a list of subtitles organized by user-generated ratings and comments shown underneath.
Finding The Best Movie Subtitles
These subtitles sites are useful, but they’re run by volunteers and are, in some cases, pretty ad-heavy. Use your own judgment, but you may need to consider blocking ads on these sites to be able to make the most use out of them.
If you’re unable to find the right subtitles for a movie, you could also consider creating video subtitles yourself instead.