Subtitles, open captions, and closed captions.
Although people use the terms subtitles and captions interchangeably, they began as two separate entities. Soon after the development of sound films, filmmakers began subtitling to translate dialogue or narration into different languages.
Captions, however, were developed for viewers who could read the language but not hear it. In 1947, deaf actor Emerson Romero invented captioning by inserting text frames between film frames to benefit those with hearing impairments. A few years later, Belgian filmmakers developed the method of etching captions directly onto the film print.
Captions often include descriptions of other sounds in the audio track, like music, laughter, or ambient noise, so viewers who can’t hear the audio can still follow and enjoy the action. Closed captions are captions viewers can turn on and off. These are useful for Vimeo or YouTube videos that you expect people to watch on large screens with the sound on. Open captions are fixed. These are better for Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook videos that people might be scrolling over without sound. The captions could be enough to draw them in.
The value of captions and subtitles.
In the era of smartphones and social media, we consume video content differently than we used to. We watch videos at work, during meals, while commuting — even in bed while our partners sleep — so we often watch without sound. And even with sound, many people watch with subtitles so they don’t miss any dialogue spoken in an unfamiliar accent or dialect.
In addition to improving accessibility, subtitles increase engagement. Whether your viewers can’t hear the sound because they’re hearing impaired or because they’re on a crowded bus, they’ll still be able to watch your subtitled video and understand what’s going on.
Add subtitles in Premiere Pro.
Add subtitles from third-party transcriptions.
If you use a transcription service to capture all of your dialogue, they should deliver it in the form of an SRT file, also known as a SubRip Subtitle file. This will include a timestamp alongside every line of dialogue. To add subtitles, follow these steps.
Manually transcribe your subtitles.
It takes time to add subtitles manually, but that way you can ensure their quality and fidelity. Just follow these steps to type the subtitles yourself.