Subtitling is the process of adding text in the form of subtitles or captions to a video that are timed to match the dialogue on the video. They are normally added with the aid of subtitling software. Commonly seen in movies, captions can also be in the same language as the dialogue to aid the deaf or people with difficulty hearing. This is actually required by law in some countries. In fact, this has proven to improve literacy in many countries. Translated subtitles are usually used to overcome language barriers especially since movies in general are distributed worldwide and can be both a video and audio description. Contrary to common belief, subtitles are not literal and direct translations of dialogue as it is human nature to absorb words faster in hearing rather than reading. Rather, they are shortened and differ a bit from the original script while highlighting the important parts of a dialogue.
It is important not to confuse subtitles with closed captions, while they are almost identical, closed captions have the ability to be turned off. Normally, subtitling software is provided at a lower cost than closed captioning software but there is software available that can do both and subtitles nowadays often come with an option to be turned off blurring the line between the two even more.
Today more than ever, subtitling has become very popular and ultimately more important. We have come a long way from the days when only movies had subtitles. In this digital era, almost everything in audio and video format is subtitled. Even text presentations have a subtitle. A great example is YouTube wherein you are given the option to insert subtitles and captions in videos you would like to upload for as simple as a video test for a newly released popular phone. In fact in 2010, there was a 40% increase in the time users spent watching videos that had subtitles as compared to ones that did not.
Online marketers have found that video marketing can provide a valuable source of traffic to their websites. By adding subtitles and captions to their videos they can also increase the likelihood of the videos being indexed by search engines. For instance, a real estate agent who features a house for sale can simply insert the details a viewer might want to know instead of taking a long video of the whole house. In this way, only vital parts of the house would be captured on video and the subtitle can provide the detail that the footage does not, such as location, dimensions, number of bathrooms etc.
Another example are flash advertisements online in the fashion niche where in you can insert details of the designer of the dress, the price and size as the video rolls without having to take multiple pictures of one dress. In this way the video can also communicate information needed. Now more than ever, it is important for businesses, marketers and advertisers alike to capitalise on subtitling as a strategic method in gaining leverage in the cutthroat competition there is today in the web. Not to mention that advancements in technology have enabled televisions sets to actually download content from the internet or even use live streaming.
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