By 2022, 82% of Internet traffic will consist of video content, according to a study by Cisco.  Increasingly, we are becoming more accustomed to watching videos and listening to podcasts, and that’s why multimedia content is growing as an essential part of many marketing campaigns.

In an article by Forbes, the writer tells us that “Youtube continues to be the platform the whole world uses to listen to music, and it’s estimated that 80% of visits come from outside the United States.”

It’s a no-brainer then that using videos as part of your company’s communication strategy helps reach customers. But what happens if, after having made an impacting and original video, shared it on social media, and optimised the title and description, the outcome is not as expected? Maybe you’ve overlooked an important consideration. Subtitles.

Adding subtitles to a video can greatly affect its impact.

At LocalizationLab, transcribing and translating subtitles is steadily increasing. We’re seeing a rise in demand for that service from our customers, and we are specialising in it.

What type of subtitles are there, and why are they so important?

Types of Subtitles: Subtitles vs Closed Captions (cc)

Subtitles and closed captions look the same, but they’re actually quite different. Subtitles are used to translate speech on a video, and they’re generally intended for people who don’t understand the language of the video. Therefore, all speech is translated into another language. Moreover, only the spoken words in the video are transcribed. On the other hand, not only do closed captions transcribe what is said, but they also transcribe background sounds, like music or other noises that may be important for understanding what is happening. In this case, they’re intended for someone who either can’t hear the video or doesn’t want to hear the video. E.g. when someone is on a crowded train and doesn’t want to bother the other passengers.

Why are subtitles so important? Below are five key reasons:

1-  Accessibility

More than 5% of the world’s population (466 billion people) experience disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children), according to the World Health Organization. Without subtitles in a video, a significant part of the world’s population wouldn’t be able to understand it. Therefore, putting subtitles on a video makes it accessible to a greater number of people. Being inclusive and accessible to a greater number of people is important. But there are also laws that need to be followed (link to the Spanish legislation).

For example, in Spain it is compulsory for the following websites to be accessible: public administration and organisations that provide public services; companies that receive public funding; private companies with more than 100 employees or that record a turnover of more than 6 million euros; social media sites set up by organisations with a turnover of more than 6 million euros; public and private universities; instruments of international cooperation; and suppliers of audio-visual communication services. Therefore, all the above need to provide subtitles for their video and multi-media web content.

2- Consumer Preference

69% of consumers prefer to watch videos without sound when in public, and 25% prefer to do so in private, according to a study by Verizon Media. At the same time, 80% of these consumers prefer videos with subtitles. The following link shows the results of the study.

3- Better understanding of the video

The same study by Verizon Media also revealed that consumers prefer to watch videos with subtitles because they understand them better. Not everyone learns in the same way. Some people need to see things, while others need to listen. If the video has subtitles, you can be sure that everyone will receive the intended message, regardless of their learning preference.

4- Not everyone speaks your language.

It’s crucial to speak to your customers in their own language. We explained just how important this is in a previous article.

As there are some 7000 languages in the world, translating the subtitles on your video will help reach many more people. Make sure you know where your customers are based and what languages they speak. If your video has a range of subtitles in different languages, even better.

Source  CIA World Factbook.

5- Subtitles improve the SEO of a video

Obviously, it’s crucial to provide high quality content that not only do your customers like, but they also learn something from. Your content should also provide added value. Let’s not forget that your goal is probably also to secure a good ranking on search engines. If you reach a lot of people, and they watch the whole video until the end, it will help increase your ranking on Google.

What’s more, subtitles also help to secure a better positioning on search engines, as Google indexes subtitles on videos (although it doesn’t index closed captions that are added automatically, like those you can add to Youtube videos).

All of this can make a big difference to the number of people who find your website, look at your video and connect with your brand.

If you would like more information about this topic, or you need to add subtitles to a video, please drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help at LocalizationLab.