This post was most recently updated on January 17th, 2024
[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
I’ve seen many reels on Instagram without subtitles. Do you usually watch videos with subtitles or not?
It should not be surprising to anyone, especially digital creators, that video has become a common sight on social media, both for personal and promotional usage. Even though I’m not a fan of video content, I must admit that video has pushed all other forms of content behind its back when it comes to engaging views.
We’ve witnessed the number of videos uploaded worldwide every minute, whether on Instagram, Facebook, and even Youtube. However, there’s a big difference between doing video from doing video well, and one effortless way you can boost your video’s influence? Add subtitles!
Subtitles are the appearing text on a video expressing the spoken part of that video. They usually are seen on the bottom of the screen. Subtitles do a lot more than just present the conversation of a video. Typically, subtitles are meant for use by audiences who do not speak the language used in the video.
Benefits of adding subtitles to your video content
Some people don’t like subtitles and insist that it’s disturbing, but they may not be seeing the big picture. When watching Netflix or video-based content, I tend to automatically switch on subtitles. It just makes my life easier and I can enjoy the content with ease.
Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) also incorporate significant non-dialogue information, such as speaker classification or sound effects. The additional information in these subtitles can support in comprehension if a viewer cannot hear the video.
Not only for d/Deaf people but there are also many benefits of subtitles depending on what you prefer. But a lot of people don’t even consider subtitles when creating their video content. Subtitles are an invaluable extension to any video content out there, whether it be video ads, films, TV shows, and now, vlogs.
Learn new languages faster
I’ve written before about how I learned a new language when I was a child, which is by watching videos with subtitles. Learning from textbooks can get a bit boring, so you may as well enjoy that experience by watching something entertaining.
Many people also learned a language by watching a popular TV series or by listening to music. As subtitles help in literacy and comprehension, they can also benefit bilingual education. People quickly learn a new language by watching and being exposed to videos with subtitles.
If you have an interest in improving your language skills, you can watch movies or listen to music in the language that you are studying. But that can only accomplish if that foreign movie has subtitles or access to lyrics which pieces of research to your spoken language.
Easy way to watch videos in sound-sensitive places
Working outside becomes irksome when someone cranks up their speaker volume. Whenever I work outdoors, I ensure to have my headphones, allowing me to watch videos without disturbing others. But what if you forget them? What if everyone ends up hearing what you’re listening to?
You can enjoy the videos with the help of subtitles. Viewers can watch videos in sound-sensitive places like an office or library. You know, auto-playing videos on silent is a typical practice on social media platforms nowadays. However, without sound or subtitles, I will not be able to understand the content. So, with the help of subtitles, I can still understand what the video is all about.
Easier to translate to other languages
When I download movies or series (oh yes I like to download movies and rewatch them), I also download the subtitle files where the captions are written. When you have this file, you can easily translate the language to other languages, whether by yourself or by sending it off to a translation service. And once you have the file translated into the languages of your choice, you have further opportunities to use it for learning languages or to reach to another target market.
For example, let’s say that I am a Youtuber and want to reach another target market like the U.S., then I need to add an English subtitle to my video. It helps my content reach a wider audience and captions can also boost SEO.
Easier access to other cultures
Thanks to subtitles, I can experience and learn more about new cultures like Chinese, Japanese, and Greek. Subtitles enable us to watch and engage more with online videos, movies, or TV series. At the same time, videos with subtitles also widen the scope of the production business with every foreign language subtitle they produce.
Improves your literacy skill
Believe or not, watching videos with subtitles can improve our literacy skills, particularly around word knowledge, reading speed, listening comprehension, and vocabulary acquisition. I realized that after watching movies with subtitles numerous times, I am able to enhance my reading speed and word knowledge.
Provide clarity of any names or terminology
I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and the Percy Jackson series. However, there are moments when I struggle to catch the spell names, terminologies, or fictional places in those movies! Subtitles make it a tad easier to follow the story, sparing me from repeatedly rewinding to understand what’s being said—and that’s definitely more enjoyable.
Now, imagine a medical or crime drama series with several terminologies, such as The Good Doctor, Gotham, and Sherlock TV series. It will definitely be challenging for me to recognize or know half of the words being spoken without subtitles. Subtitles can implement the required clarity for viewers and make them enjoy and learn whatever they’re watching.
After reading the benefits of watching videos with subtitles and with the technology that we have today, it’s easy to add subtitles to your videos. You can either add it manually (which will consume much of your time), or you can use a transcription or caption service. If you’re a video creator, I recommend you add subtitles to your video to reach more audiences and help people with hearing difficulties.