• Joanna B.

Captioning and Transcription: What is the Difference?

Although clearly different, sometimes it’s still hard to tell the difference between transcription and captioning since they are very similar. There’s a distinctive difference that goes a bit beyond the basic dictionary definitions. These two things, namely captioning and transcription, come with their very own benefits, uses, and even legal requirements. However, both of these things have their own individual properties and also operate in their own unique way.


They can also work directly together in order to create more accessible as well as more user-friendly content. Knowing the difference helps job hunters better understand the requirements of what they are getting themselves into and also help avoid confusion later on.



What is the difference between captioning and transcription?


Both transcription and captioning are each known as a separate process with their individual output product. Transcription is the main process in which either speech or audio is then converted into a plain text document. Captioning on the other hand divides the transcript text into particular text into time-coded chunks. These are known as “caption frames”.


While transcription does form the basis for captioning, they still have their own individual use cases. Transcription can be utilized in order to make certain audio-only content accessible. Accurate captioning, however, is legally required in order to make the videos more accessible. Both captioning and transcription can be utilized in order to boost both audio and video SEO.


What is transcription?


This is the main process in which audio or speech is then converted into text. Transcripts come as the result of transcription. Due to them being in pure text form, there is typically no given time information that is attached, unless the need for timestamps is clearly specified. Plainly and typically, when reading a transcript, there will be no way to tell which part of the audio was a certain word said.


There are generally two different transcription practices namely verbatim and non-verbatim. Verbatim transcription focuses on the direct audio word-for-word and this includes all of the utterances and other sound effects. This particular transcription is good for scripted speech just like a TV show, skit, or even a movie. Non-verbatim, on the other hand, edits the whole text in order for it to be read more easily. This is perfect for certain unscripted content like recorded speaking events, interviews, lectures, and more.


A transcriptionist has to work on the directions given by the client. There are transcription tools that decrease the total workload needed for transcriptionists like the audio-to-text transcription tool that automatically transcribes a piece of audio or video making it easier for the transcriptionist to smoothen out later on.


What is captioning?


This is the main process that involves chopping up transcription text into smaller chunks known as the "caption frames." These are all time-coded for them to be synchronized along with either the audio or the video. The output of general captioning are basically captions that can easily be spotted at the bottom of the video screen.


Captions will allow the viewers to simply follow along with either the video and audio or the captions interchangeably. Closed captions usually depict both the speech and the sound effect used. These also identify the different speakers within the audio or video. Captions must account for any other sound that is short of being visually apparent.


Captions are also made on the assumption that the viewer won't be able to hear the video at all. This is due to the fact that those people who need a hearing aid and or the d/Deaf rely on captions in order for them to be able to consumer video media. While those that transcribe are called transcriptionists, those that captions can still be called transcriptionists as well

What are the benefits of transcription and captioning?


Both transcription and captioning itself offer their very own benefits. Knowing the key differences will allow the person doing the job to determine exactly what is expected of them.


What are the benefits of transcription?


Transcription has a lot of benefits, it is also a pretty great supplement to either the video or the audio content. Transcription is a very useful accessibility tool. For those that are not using a professional captioning and transcription service, transcripts could be the perfect segway towards creating the needed closed captions.


Transcripts are there in order to make radio shows or even podcasts more accessible to all. This also helps improve the comprehension for other ESL listeners, increases the overall user interaction, and could even help improve SEO.


This American Life or TAL, known today as one of the most popular podcasts, were reportedly able to improve their overall unique visitors through their organic search results by a whopping 6% and even increase their own inbound links by about 4%. This was all due to their choice to transcribe 100% of every single audio in their archive.


Transcription can improve SEO performance for radio shows and even video content as well. Since search engines won’t be able to check out every single video, there is no way of being able to rank the video content based on additional information other than the metadata. Transcripts that go along with caption files work by allowing search engines to be able to read and even “view” the important contents of the video. This makes indexing and ranking them a lot more possible.


What are the benefits of captioning?


Captioning oftentimes comes with a number of benefits. This is as long as the captions are done accurately. Captions are also very important to make the video content more accessible to those with difficulty in hearing or the d/Deaf. On top of these reasons, they also provide assistance to those ESL speakers. This also helps other viewers that have learning disabilities or even attention deficits maintain the needed concentration.


Captions have also shown help to others with comprehension of the main dialogue. This is a good thing because an estimate of 41% of the video is actually incomprehensible without the availability of either sound or captions. Captions also work by allowing viewers to be able to watch the video in certain sound-sensitive environments like a public place or a quiet office or even a library.


All of these things combined would lead to more people checking out the captioned video. A certain Facebook video advertising study was able to find out that captions would increase the total video view time by a significant 12%.


Need help with captioning or transcription? Let Izitext.io do the job for you.