1. How do I use the given subtitle file with my video(s)?

If you intend to add captions/subtitles to an existing video on a website, each video hosting site / learning management system usually provides step-by-step instructions on how to upload subtitle files onto their systems respectively. Here are some links you might find useful:

2. Do captions only benefit the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing population?

An Ofcom finding in 2014 has revealed that of the 7.5 million people who used closed captioning in their study, 80% of them are not hard-of-hearing. This debunks the myth that captions only benefit the deaf and hard-of-hearing population. Why is this so? These are some possible reasons:

  • Research has shown that implementing captions in learning materials is associated with increased comprehension, memory recall and retention. (You can refer to some of the papers in our ‘Relevant Links’ page to read in more details)
  • Captions help learners navigate difficult accents and allow people who are English as a Second Language (ESL) learners to better understand their classes. There are also well-established links between same-language subtitling and increased literacy.
  • Captions also benefit people who identify themselves as visual learners. The multimodal learning of sight combined with sound may lead to more effective learner strategies.
  • Yes. Finally, captions also enable the deaf and hard-of-hearing to access the video content, along with learners who may have other invisible disabilities such as auditory processing disorders, and certain autism spectrum disorders, thereby creating a more inclusive learning environment.

3. Don’t the deaf and hard-of-hearing use sign-language interpreters and note-takers to acquire information? Why do they still need captions?

Communication support for the deaf and hard-of-hearing is not so much a one-size-fits-all approach but rather, having a spectrum of options for them to choose the approach that best suits their needs for different situations.

As Yeo Chi Jin, Alfred (a Singaporean deaf friend) aptly puts it, different communication support serves different purposes. While sign-language interpretation and note-taking services provide a more dynamic and “live” access to information and allows the flexibility of the deaf/hard-of-hearing person to ask questions, post-production captioning is useful for situations like revision of recorded classes/e-learning content and providing information where there are videos displayed (in public places such as airports, museums and even online videos).

In addition, based on the Mini-Enabling Master Plan published by the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) in 2012, there are only 4 professional sign language interpreters (SLIs) to cater to the entire deaf signing population in Singapore. “…there are insufficient SLIs to meet the growing communication needs of the Deaf signing population in Singapore.” With the shortage in communication support, providing captions is one way to supplement current needs.

4. How does having captions help me in my Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Ever seen a professionally produced video, that looks like it cost a bomb to develop but unfortunately did not yield much views on YouTube? With 300 hours’ worth of videos uploaded onto YouTube every minute in 2014, it is no wonder that videos tend to get drowned out in the traffic.

How do captions help maximise the reach of your videos?
Simply put, captions allow videos to be indexed into text data so that they can be searched for more easily.

A study by a video marketer has shown that captioned videos have led to increased number of views. This is attributed to the fact that keywords that only show up in subtitle files but not in the video title, description or tags also influence the search ranking of videos. This then increases the search traffic, page views, search ranking and viewer engagement, making captioning well worth the investment.