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How and why your video matters to you is going to help determine why adding subtitles to your videos will be important. For example, if you were trying to compete with YouTube, which offers subtitles on all videos, then adding subtitling matters because you can match and maybe surpass your competitors. On the other hand, if you are trying to prove something in court using Smartphone recordings, then subtitles are important because they help the audience understand what is being said. Here are a few other reasons why adding subtitles to your videos is important.
There Is the Accessibility Issue
Probably the most common and obvious reason is that it makes your videos more accessible. It is only fair that people who are hard of hearing get to enjoy your videos or learn from your videos too. Does this actually make adding subtitles important?
The answer to that depends on your priorities and perhaps on the meaning of your video. If you are offering entertainment videos, then catering to deaf people too will help increase your pool of potential customers. If you feel it is important that deaf/hard-of-hearing people are not excluded from your videos, then adding subtitles are important. On the other hand, if your video is promoting some sort of music or something that deaf people wouldn’t enjoy, then perhaps subtitles wouldn’t be as important to you.
Help to Clarify Things For Watchers
There are several ways this may apply in a manner that makes it important to add subtitles. For example, if your videos are teaching people things, then being able to read what is being said will be helpful when writing out notes. It also helps people better understand words, phrases and sentences that were perhaps said quickly. It even allows people to check the spelling of words so that they may research them further on Bing or Google.
Even if a video is not educational, even if it is for entertainment, having subtitles can help some people understand what is being said. Rappers are pretty notorious for churning through lines in a way that makes them difficult to understand without subtitles, and if demonstrations use words that sound like other words. For example, somebody could easily confuse the spoken word abhorrent with aberrant or undo with undue. Adding subtitles simply helps clarify things a little to help stop any unnecessary confusion.
More Accessible to Non-Native English Speakers
Some people are auditory learners and they learn how to speak a language before they learn how to write it. Some people are visual learners and they learn how to write a language before they learn how to speak it. If your viewer has English as his or her second language, then some of the spoken word content may be difficult for that person to understand. This is especially true if the speaker on the video has a thick accent or speaks very quickly. Having subtitles allows people to better study what has been said. It allows them to go over it again to re-affirm their understanding.
More Accessible To People Using Different Languages
Your subtitles do not have to be in English. For example, if you are looking to sell your videos to China, then having Chinese subtitles under your English-spoken video may be very helpful. There are many times when having your videos dubbed in another language is not feasible. It can make the video unwatchable, but that is rarely the case with subtitles. Plus, having translated ones is far cheaper than dubbing a video, especially when you consider that professional dubbing artists are expensive and difficult to find.
How Important Are Subtitles To You?
The question behind this article is a little more personal than it first appears. Importance is something that you place yourself. As mentioned in the paragraphs about accessibility, how important the subtitles are will depend upon your business goals, video goals, preferences, and how easily you are able to have subtitles added. Luckily, there are more subtitling companies kicking around these days, so having your video content transcribed, translated and captioned is not nearly as difficult as it was just a few years ago. Nevertheless, in the end, you decide how important subtitles are, and you decide to what extent your videos offer subtitles.