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Why closed captions are good for videos

Videos have become increasingly widespread and more and more companies are using them to get their marketing messages across.  Some sources, such as Entrepreneur.com, claim that 80% of online content will be video within the next year.

Whilst a video often has more impact than the written word, reaching your target audience with a video is more difficult. This is because the data that is searchable for a video by browser bots is just the title, description and tags. The content itself isn’t searchable. A clever way to get around this is to create closed captions. Closed captions can be seen on screen like subtitles. To make closed captions work, a web developer uploads both the video and the caption file, which is very much like a transcript with time codes. Now search engines can identify keywords and phrases in your video content by searching the caption file.

The explosion of video as a marketing platform has led to many videos appearing in Facebook. You will notice them appearing in your feed. Many people have the sound muted on their iPad, tablets and even smartphones. This means that they can scroll past videos without hearing the sound – sometimes this is preferable if you are at work or in a public place. However, with closed captions, some words will be visible on the screen. Those words might be enough to cause you to pause and watch the video.

In addition, videos are frequently used now to create tutorials for online courses. Having closed captions is a great aid to understanding training or educational material but you can also use captions as transcripts of the videos so that students can quickly search for terminology used or skip to a relevant section.

How to reach 432 million adults with hearing loss

According to the World Health Organisation, 432 million adults and 34 million children suffer from hearing loss. Without closed captions, this group could struggle to understand the messages in your carefully prepared videos if they cannot read closed captions.

Here at McGowan Transcriptions, we are pleased that we can help the deaf community gain access to video content more easily by means of closed captions and transcripts. Over the years, we have produced transcripts for many different purposes, ranging from sermons, webinars, adverts and workshops, providing access for all.

As members of the Equality Register, we see it as our duty to research ways of making transcription, training materials, videos – to name but a few – accessible to everyone.

Make your videos search engine friendly

Anyone with a website will have come across the expression Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Some will have attempted to work out how to optimise their page content for searches. Without captions, however, the content in videos isn’t accessible to search engine bots. This is where you can get ahead of your competitors: adding closed captions to videos should be top of your to-do list.

When a closed caption file is added to a website, YouTube, Vimeo – and other platforms – instantly your video content is visible to bots. Make your video content as relevant to your service or product as you can and you will be filling your captions with plenty of keywords and phrases for the bots to index.

Improve understanding

Video captions aren’t just useful for people with hearing loss. If you’ve ever watched a documentary and heard someone speaking in broken English, you will have noticed that subtitles are provided to assist with understanding. This can also be the case if you are trying to reach an audience for whom English is not their first language. It may be easier for them to understand what you are saying in your video if they can read the words. For training videos, too, seeing the words on the screen can be a massive help in understanding terminology or jargon connected to your industry that may be unfamiliar to a trainee.

“We are really excited about being able to add closed captions to our range of services”
We have a dedicated team of transcribers working on producing closed captions. Our default closed caption format is WEBVTT. However, if you wish to have captions in a different format, just ask and we’ll see what we can do.
Joe McGowan, Managing Director
Carol Nourse, Operations Coordinator 

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Since our start in 1993, we have had the privilege of working for many of the country’s leading businesses. The fact that many medical institutions, legal firms, and multinational companies trust us with their words is something we do not take for granted. We are committed to always give it our best, making sure our customers are fully satisfied with the results. That is the feedback we get, and we are proud of that! Below are some of the companies we may call our customers.
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Joe McGowan

Managing Director, McGowan Transcriptions UK

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