Did you know that there is more to subtitles than meets the eye? Besides just being the video’s sidekick and the audio’s support, subtitles have several other functions – many of which might never have crossed your mind.
Videos have become the number one prioritised and profitable form of content on the internet. The demand and audience for videos are constantly growing, and in line with this so is the competition in video-making and video-editing. This means, there is an increasing need for better and more efficient video editing software. It is a priority to find ways to streamline the advancing video editing work.
Advanced computer technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), has taken video editing tools to the next level, incorporating functions such as transcribing subtitles from speech in videos – something which, in the past, was a task we could only imagine humans being able to perform.
How can Subtitles Make a Difference
In the 1900s subtitles were used to support the storyline in silent movies. Later, when movies with audio became possible, subtitles’ use shifted toward assisting the audio and towards making the movie inclusive for the deaf or those hard of hearing.
The relevance of this use will most likely never disappear, as today an estimated 466 million people live with hearing difficulties worldwide. This number is expected to increase to 700 million by 2050. Furthermore, 2.5 billion people are thought to have some kind of hearing loss.
Would you be surprised to learn that most videos nowadays are watched on mute? A phenomenon of the 21st century, some might say. A consequence of the digital world, where most watch videos on their phones – often on the go; on public transport, during lunch breaks, or at the gym. Even at home people tend to mute videos or decrease the audio volume – for the sake of not disturbing those around them, or simply, to just be discreet.
This means that everything which is being said in a video is often not heard or recognized at all. A pity, when we think of all the hard work we put into creating meaningful videos. You don’t have to stress about this fact too long though, because subtitles will help you unite the visual and audible content of your video.
In fact, studies show that adding subtitles can improve comprehension, attention to, and memory of the video, and increase engagement rates by up to 80%.
Create video SEO
Another relatively unknown effect of adding subtitles, is that it will make your video count in SEO. SEO is short for search engine optimization and refers to the process of various search engines ranking your pages based on several factors such as engagement metrics and relevant keywords in your content. They use robots (bots) to regularly crawl web pages in order to detect those ranking factors. Even though the processes going on in SEO are very complex, you don’t have to be a pro to understand how to optimise your SEO.
Videos in particular are vulnerable to SEO, as the search engine crawlers can not detect either the audible or visual content of a video. As a result of this, videos don’t really count in SEO, unless you add subtitles and/or a video description to your videos.
Not just any kind of subtitle will suffice though, because they have to be open caption subtitles. These are the kind of subtitles you have as a subtitle file such as .srt or .vtt, which you then add to your video on your video platform. This way crawlers, such as Google bots, can detect the keywords in your subtitle file. It is not enough to just have the subtitles visually sitting on top of your video. They must be uploaded with your video to your chosen platform (such as YouTube) as a separate file.
You need to always keep in mind that your speech and subtitle keywords have to be aligned and correspond well with your content so that the crawlers can easily figure out what your content is about, in order for them to match your content with the right search queries.
Don’t let borders stop you from Sharing Your Content
So, now that you know a bit more about the use of open caption subtitles in regards to achieving SEO, we will enrich you with one more idea of how to utilise all the potential of your video.
Consider adding a selection of subtitle languages to your video. Open caption subtitles can be turned on and off, and also, they give you the opportunity to add a selection of subtitle languages for your audience to choose between – giving you the chance to expand your audience globally.
How does AI Subtitling Software Operate
AI subtitling software uses speech recognition and neural network algorithms to transcribe the speech in your video into subtitle text. You might worry that it will mishear the words and the outcome will be something rather unintelligible. As we know that AI technology is nowhere near reaching the intelligence of human beings, this is a reasonable concern to have. Although, when it comes to this particular function of transcribing words into text, AI software is quite precise with an accuracy of up to 98%. Furthermore, some software can auto-subtitle 2 hours of video in just 20 minutes.
This means AI subtitle software is a revolutionary and essential tool to streamline the otherwise tedious process of adding subtitles manually.
With other functions, such as translation, the AI software is a bit less accurate, as translating by nature is not as straightforward as transcribing. AI does translate more accurately than non-AI translating tools, because those translate directly word by word, whereas the AI uses advanced language models with grammar, structure, syntax, and composition to compose and translate into the most plausible sentence. The AI furthermore “learns” with every use and thereby becomes more precise, as it remembers the deviations and errors that might occur. This does make AI translation software both useful to content creators looking to reach an international audience, as well as for assisting professional translators in amplifying their work.
Tips to Improve Your Subtitles
1# Subtitles need to be simple and clear; choose a larger font size (preferably point size 22), choose an easily readable font (consider sans serif), position your subtitles at the bottom of the screen, and avoid them clashing with other pictures or captions on the screen.
2# Keep it short. Every subtitle card should hold a maximum of 42 characters equal to 6-7 words per line. Subtitles are often shortened to make them easier to read, so you might consider leaving out a few words where it makes sense. (Don’t leave out the keywords though!)
3# Break the subtitle line where there would naturally be a sentence break.
4# If you are looking to increase video SEO, remember to choose closed caption subtitles. These are the kind of subtitles that can be turned on and off. You create them by downloading your subtitles as a subtitles file (SRT, VTT, TXT) and then you upload them to your video on your video platform.
The kind of subtitles that will NOT provide you with video SEO is called open caption subtitles. Those are burned into your video and therefore are always there. They basically have become one entity, and crawlers can not detect them. Though if you are not looking to gain video SEO they will do fine.
5# Make your keywords correspond well with your content. First of all, your topic-relevant keywords should always be in your speech, so that they will also be embedded in your subtitles. Ideally, your content should answer your viewers’ queries. This will decrease bouncing rates, meaning your viewers will stay on your page to explore more, rather than ‘bouncing’ away just as they have arrived.
6# You can choose to insert a few strategically placed keywords in your subtitles when no one is speaking – this will increase your keyword profile and increase your video SEO.
7# Make a blog out of your subtitles or add a video description to your video. This will benefit comprehension of your video and it will increase video SEO. Luckily, you do not have to start writing everything down from scratch. You can simply recycle your text from your subtitles, by downloading your subtitles as a subtitles file, and that way – you have your text.
8# Upload your video on a platform that allows you to upload subtitle files to your video. Ideally, a fast-delivering video platform, so that your viewers can watch your video smoothly without a lot of loading time.