Did you know that about 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound?

Are you also a part of the ‘click to listen’ revolution?

It may be worth mentioning that many countries like America have introduced laws (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990) to ensure that hard-of-hearing or deaf viewers be provided ‘an equivalent experience, making it imperative to caption the videos.

It’s no wonder then that transcribing a video to provide subtitles and text captions on the screen has become very popular in today’s digital times. You cannot deny the merits of transcribing a video for improving SEO rankings, accelerating web accessibility, facilitating greater reach, increasing social media sharing, and enhancing growth.

The question then arises – Are you transcribing correctly?

Subtitling and text captioning need to be done carefully. A misspelt word or improper punctuation can create confusion, misunderstanding or even offence. A bad translation can lower the viewer ratings and incur heavy losses for the company.

Let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes that occur while transcribing videos to text captions and subtitles:

  • Word-to-word translation

At times the exact words can mean different things in different languages. In this respect, literal word-to-word translation can create misinterpretation and sometimes gibberish. It is best to translate by keeping the essence of the meaning to be conveyed intact. Try and replicate the purpose rather than just words.

For example, if you were to translate the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs” literally, the result would not make any sense. It would be best to find the correct expression that suits the context.

  • Not following the natural way of speaking.

It is essential to write subtitles correctly and format them precisely. Follow the natural flow of speaking. If you erratically break up the text and introduce unnatural splits, the audience may have trouble comprehending the text. A viewer should be able to read the subtitles parallel to watching the video. He should not have to read the caption twice to grasp its meaning. Therefore, ensure the text captions are easy to follow, and the audience understands the importance effortlessly.

Improper usage of punctuation marks

Proper punctuation marks, question marks, and exclamation marks are essential to ensure clear context and correct meaning. Improper use of commas, semicolons, colons, and apostrophes can distort or completely alter the meaning of the text. Grammar correctness and fluency are essential to enhance the quality of subtitles and text captions.

Illegible texts

Most people access content through their smartphones. Therefore, select a font that’s simple, clear, and easy to read—for example, Arial, Times. Too small or too large subtitles can make the text difficult to decipher. 

If the colour of the subtitles tends to merge with the background colour, it can become unreadable to the viewers, corrupting the user experience. Usually, white or yellow works well against diverse coloured backgrounds. 

Also, try not to have more than two lines of captions on the screen at a given time. Too many lines or long phrases can obscure critical visual elements on the screen and interfere with viewing the video.

A good-quality transcripted video will be a complete waste if the subtitles are not legible at the bottom. As a rule, test your subtitles videos on different devices to confirm that it is easily readable in all conditions.

Automated Transcription

With remarkable advancements in speech recognition software, it is easy to provide efficient and accurate transcriptions through AI-powered transcriptions. Automated transcription is a cost-effective way to convert a video to text quickly and accurately. You can now offer your viewers high-quality subtitles using AI-based technology and boost their user experience.

Use proper timecodes and timestamps.

The subtitles or text captions must be timed to perfection. Set a proper timecode or timestamp to ensure the audio and video line up correctly. There should be no mismatch between the character speaking and the subtitles appearing on the screen. Nothing can be worse for a viewer’s experience than reading the dialogue before it has been expressed by the character or after the surface has said it. In general, captions should appear on the screen for about six seconds and change as per the imagery.

Furthermore, extra spaces or dashes within the text lines can cause display errors, overlaps, or corrupt .SRT file. The proper format of timecode is: 

Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames: 04:02:45:25

Video editors can use timecodes as reference points for quickly finding and identifying the clip during the editing phase. This not only helps save time but also allows improved efficiency.

Good quality subtitles can enhance a viewer’s experience and increase hit rates. Businesses can attract people’s attention by providing accurate subtitling and captioning videos to optimize success and growth. 

Sneha Mukherjee

Content and Copywriter at Wavel AI

I fuse my passion for technology with storytelling, breathing life into our innovative solutions through words. My mission transcends features, focusing on crafting engaging narratives that connect users and render AI accessible to all.