Subtitles: old technology, new uses

Our video content consumption habits have brought up the importance and relevance of closed captioning.

Before Facebook started autoplaying video content without sound in its newsfeed a few years ago, we talked very little about closed captioning.

However, since then, all video projects we produce for our clients are systematically subtitled to allow viewing without sound, as very often these videos are viewed ad hoc in a Facebook, Instagram or other social media newsfeed.

We are a generation of content consumers for whom subtitles are no longer a tool for people with hearing disabilities, but a tool that allows us to view more content in more diverse contexts than before.

No headphones and in a crowded bus? No problem. Insomnia and a sleeping loved one? No problem.

Netflix has also played its part in this movement!

We now very regularly listen to Scandinavian series with the original soundtrack, thanks to closed captions, and many even listen to series and feature films in their own language with the subtitles. Why? Because it ensures that nothing is missed.

Jason Kottke recently asked himself the question, wanting to know what makes subtitles so popular these days. A Twitter discussion ensued and excellent points were raised by other users, which he references in his article.

If captioning is part of your life (personal or professional), I invite you to read Jason’s article, and also Lance Ulanoff’s that he mentions at the very end (where it talks about ADHD in particular). Very interesting!

Happy subtitling.

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