Reach the one in five Americans who do not speak English and others who prefer to watch videos on mute. Add captions and translations to your videos.
This blog explains how we captioned a video with the clips of the riot and impeachment hearing, and then translated the video into Spanish, Chinese and Hindi. We'll also cover:
- Different ways to generate captions
- Why it is important to combine both machine translation and human proof-reading
- What is a video with a burnt in caption vs. a selectable close caption (CC)
- A map by county that shows the percentage of people who speak a language other than English at home
Captioned & translated video clip from impeachment hearing
This video is a montage of the English, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi videos of the same clip. You can watch any of them with audio directly on YouTube.
Captioning and translation tips
Videos can be automatically captioned with apps but should be proofread before creating captions.
Create your own captions offers more flexibility on how you can distribute videos rather than being tied to captioning service which is tied to a platform like YouTube or Facebook.
Videos can be automatically translated into over thirty languages, once captions have been generated.
Captions can either be 'burnt' on a video, or uploaded as a separate caption file (VTT) which can be uploaded to different video streaming platforms.
Proofread machine-generated captions
Captioning software listens to what is being said and transcribes that into words which are placed a the bottom of the video as captions. They are about 70-90% accurate depending on the app and how clear the soundtrack it. Proofread the captions manually to fix any errors before adding them to your video. Here are some errors we caught while translating this video.
Burnt captions vs Caption files
Videos consist of three elements - video, soundtrack and captions. Captions can be added to a video in two ways:
1. Embedding or 'burning' them into the video. Viewers can click on such captioned videos and watch them immediately.
2. Captions can also be added as a separate VTT file. "A VTT file is a text file saved in the Web Video Text Tracks (WebVTT) format. It contains supplementary information about a web video, including subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters, and metadata. VTT files do not contain any video data." This lets viewers choose the language of the captions that they'd like to see.
The English, Spanish and Chinese videos in this example have 'burnt-in' captions. The Hindi version of the video uses a VTT file for the captions.
Video with captions on YouTube
Languages spoken by county
This map shows the percentage of people by county who speak languages other than English at home. It can be freely shared with this link or embedded in a web site with this code: < iframe width="300" height="200" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen src="https://arcg.is/1S8jyC">
Takeaway: You spend a lot of time, money and energy on creating videos. Make sure to maximize their impact by adding captions and translations. Learn more here.