The differences between Closed Captioning and Subtitles

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Subtitle support in videos is very important because subtitles help you understand the content better. For example, subtitles help hearing-impaired people to watch movies fully. And you can also watch a foreign language film with subtitles without having to wait for the film to be dubbed. This is convenient because it allows you to watch new movies almost as soon as they are released.

In English, you can meet two names: subtitles and closed captioning. As a rule, you will see a CC (Closed Captioning) icon next to the language that supports closed captioning.

What is Closed Captioning explained

Closed Captioning is a more extended subtitle. Closed Captioning duplicates the entire sound background of the movie with text, not just the dialogs. The viewer is shown the sounds and actions hidden behind the scenes.

For example, if we look at the screenshot below, we can understand the flow of the movie. While watching the movie at this point, a song starts playing. Viewers will see the name of the song and the artist.

Closed Captioning
Closed Captioning

After the song information, Closed Captioning displays the lyrics of the song. For convenience, the song lyrics are highlighted with note icons. The viewer understands that it’s not the dialogue, it’s the sound of the song.

Closed Captioning
Closed Captioning

In Closed Captioning, if an actor’s dialogue is heard offscreen, it will be indicated who is speaking at that moment. In some scenes where actors are shouting or whispering, this can also be underlined.

Such subtitles are aimed at hearing-impaired people who don’t understand intonation and cannot understand voice differences. This is why Closed Captioning is aimed at providing information not only about dialogues but also about all the surrounding sounds.

Thus, Closed Captioning contains extended information about the audio part of the content. Not only the dialogues, but also the accompanying sounds.

What are subtitles explained

subtitles
subtitles

Usually “subtitles” is understood as a visualization of the dialogues in a film. As a rule, all other sounds are not rendered because subtitles are aimed at people who do not know the language (which is the difference from captions, which are aimed at people who have trouble seeing).

You could say it is a simpler rendering system than Closed Captioning. Typically used to allow viewers in other countries who do not know the original language of the film to view the film. Or to watch a movie in noisy environments (such as cafes or waiting rooms).

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