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How Captioning Opens Up the World of Content

Adding subtitles and captions to your videos is a great way to add multiple layers of accessibility, comprehension, and inclusivity. This is true of all video content, whether they are videos made exclusively for social media, TV shows, educational material, or news reports. SyncWords tell why captions matter in digital content.

Producing great content for the digital space involves much more than just a storyline, a hook, and visuals. The most valuable currency in the digital age is, arguably, the human attention span. You will find you are no longer able to focus on one task without being pulled into something else that demands your attention then and there. Reading a book, listening to an entire music album, or trying to learn a new skill is challenging in the era of social media, where there’s a new hook every single minute. 

As more and more people get their information and news from social media feeds, the infinite scroll option leads to severe attention deficits. When there is a distraction with each new refresh of your screen, there is no lack of content for you to discover. When you are online, multiple tabs and browsers are likely to open. Your phone is buzzing with texts and push alerts, and there is also the chaos of the home environment to consider, which has now become the de facto office space.

You can check this the next time you are in an office meeting, whether in-person or on a Zoom call. Even if you have placed your phone on silent out of courtesy, it is likely well within your line of sight, and you see a notification or alert pop up. Mid-conversation, you will probably fight the urge to pick it up and check if it merits a response then and there. We have all been there, and we have had to relearn some communication etiquette in the era of virtual meetings. Your mobile being off-limits at the dining table because mom said so is by now the stuff of legend.

The very gadgets that enable us to work and communicate and congregate virtually in the digital age are also the cause of distraction. And when there is this infinite scroll of content everywhere you look, how do you discern what content deserves your attention? And if multi-tasking, like is the world’s wont nowadays, how do you engage with the content of your choice while doing something else, like writing down a note or listening to a stream of white noise to keep you from distractions? When the content format is video, the answer is captioning.

Add Multiple Layers of Accessibility

For existing content, think of captions as a great post-production benefit. Adding captions to your existing content, like pre-recorded content, amps up its value by opening it up to larger audiences. You give your audience a chance to engage with the content even with the sound turned off. Subtitles and captions make your content more accessible to people who are hard-of-hearing or speak another language. They also add another layer of accessibility to those who work in shared spaces or out of cafes, as they can engage with your content with the sound turned off.

This is true for all kinds of video content: fun videos for social media, news reports, educational material, TV shows, training modules, presentations, etc.

And if there is one thing that OTT platforms have demonstrated, it’s that great content transcends linguistic barriers, as long as it is translated. To conquer the global market and get international audiences to engage with your content, you have to meet them where they are, at least from the perspective of language. Enabling automatic translation of your English subtitles to a language that sits outside the English spectrum is by far the most effective way to get your content to reach wider circles. This is an aspect of captioning that SyncWords excels in, with translation capabilities to over 100 languages.

Add Better Comprehension to Videos on Social Media Platforms

Did you know that the default setting for videos that run on scrollable social media is mute? Most Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter videos play on mute as you scroll through the timelines. Over 2/3 of videos on visual social media platforms are watched without sound. Over 28 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This factor multiplies when your videos are made for a global audience. When you add subtitles or captions to your videos, you are not only making them accessible to more people; you are creating inclusive content.

Social media content feeds and timelines tend to be heavily distracting, influenced that they are by algorithms that dictate the variety and frequency of the content that shows up on your feed. Various factors impact these algorithms, and Facebook considers even three-second views of a particular video as a viable metric. Given this, even if you are at a point in your scroll where something else catches your attention, or you pause at that point to answer a text on your phone, this is recorded as a view.

However, if it is a video that you do watch but are in a noisy place or a café where there’s noise all around, chances are you will watch the video with the sound turned off. And to fully engage with the video, it should have captions embedded. This way, your comprehension of the video is not affected because you have the sound turned off.

If you haven’t embedded captions into your video, then these are potential audiences that you stand to lose. People who comprehend better through reading will get that added benefit when watching videos.

To wrap up

It’s not enough to produce video content nowadays. You cannot rest on that laurel alone if you haven’t figured out reach, comprehension, and accessibility factors. By adding captions to your videos, an elegant solution that SyncWords makes possible, with the added benefit of multi-lingual translation, so many aspects of digital reach click into place. 

Your search engine indexing rate increases, your social reach widens, audience engagement gets amplified, audience comprehension becomes more significant, and you create a more accessible, inclusive world of content. If you are in the business of creating content -- and SyncWords cannot recommend this enough -- include captions to make a difference in the way people find your content and engage with it.

Related Reads on the SyncWords Blog:

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