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Closed Captioning vs. Subtitling: Learn the Difference Between Two Localisation Services

In this continuously growing digital age, video content has proven to be the most appealing form of engaging the masses. The more they visualise, the more they can relate to their day-to-day lives. These videos constitute two very important localisation services: Captions and Subtitles. These are basically timed text solutions that make the video content much more engaging for the audience.

But often, people are unable to distinguish between the two. Over the past years, these two have become clouded with questions and confusion. While seemingly similar, these two services serve distinct purposes and cater to different audiences. 

As part of the localisation process, understanding the differences between closed captioning and subtitling is crucial. Let’s explore the distinctions between these two localisation services and understand how they can enhance educational content in the context of education outsourcing from India.

Closed Captioning: What’s That?

The origin of closed captioning dates back to the early 1980s due to an FCC mandate that gradually became a significant requirement for most broadcast television programming. Originally, they were created as a tool for those who were deaf or hard of hearing.

By definition, if you go, it would be something like- ” Closed captioning is time-synchronized text that reflects an audio track and can be read while watching visual content.” In education outsourcing from India, this service ensures inclusive learning.

Subtitling: How does it work?

The process of translating spoken dialogue into written text on the screen is subtitling. The first use of subtitling came into play in 1909 by M.N.Topp. He had filed a patent for “a device that would rapidly show titles for movies, apart from the images on the film strip.”The most popular use of subtitling includes breaking language barriers for a global audience.

Being used in education outsourcing from India, it makes content understandable for everyone as it translates the content into various Indian languages. Such localisation services thus help students who don’t speak the same language comprehend the content better.

Closed Captioning vs Subtitling: The Differences between the Two Localisation Services

After reading through the definitions of two localisation services, you might wonder about the exact difference between the two, as only going through a definition won’t help you draw clear conclusions distinctively. So, without any further ado, let us delve into the differences:


One of the major ways in which they differ is their respective target audience. On the one hand, where closed captioning mainly targets hard-of-hearing individuals, subtitling is mainly for those who can hear the audio but may not understand the spoken language in the video.

In the context of localisation services from India, the former ensures that even students with hearing disabilities can access the educational content and engage themselves fully. Subtitling primarily helps in bridging the language barriers, thus catering to a multilingual audience and keeping the picture of the entire globe so that difficulty in understanding a language does not become a barrier in the path of learning and revenue.


Now, have a look at this point of difference. The content of closed captioning and that of subtitling have a noticeable amount of difference in this respect. Closed captions go beyond merely transcribing spoken words. Often, you might have noticed on YouTube,  including descriptions of the sound environment, such as “[doorbell rings]” or “[ominous music playing].”This is what closed caption content also includes.

Subtitles, on the other hand, typically focus on translating the spoken language, allowing viewers to comprehend the content in their native language. In the context of education outsourcing from India, this is particularly valuable when delivering content to diverse linguistic backgrounds.


Another distinction that comes into play is the usage of these two, that is, in the ways these two can be used. Closed captions can be toggled on or off by the viewer. This feature is essential for ensuring that those who don’t need captions can enjoy the content without distraction. Subtitling does not have this facility. They can either be embedded into the video or provided as a separate file. Unlike closed captioning, it is usually a permanent part of video.

In general, closed captioning is much more commonly used in educational content in comparison to subtitles, as it is integral for international distribution for reaching out to a larger set of non-native speakers.

Closed Captioning and Subtitling: The Importance of Both

Thus, in the labyrinth of digital content, where videos have become the heartbeat of engagement, especially in the field of educational content, understanding the intricate differences between closed captioning and subtitling is of utmost importance. Closed captioning assures that even people who are hard of hearing have access to educational content. Subtitling, on the other hand, makes sure that students worldwide can understand the content in their native language.

localisation services

As you looked into the details, you noticed how closed captioning is mainly for people who can’t hear well, while subtitling is for those who might not understand the language spoken in the video. Closed captions describe not only the words but also the sounds like “[doorbell rings].” Subtitles, on the other hand, stick to translating spoken language.

When it comes to using them, closed captions can be turned on or off, giving viewers a choice. Subtitles, once added, stay there as part of the video. This is handy in education videos, especially for international sharing, where not everyone speaks the same language.

Final Words

So, summing it all up, your exploration into closed captioning and subtitling open your eyes to their different jobs under localisation services. In education outsourcing from India, they become crucial tools, ensuring everyone, no matter their abilities or language, can dive into the world of learning through videos. Though you see that there are so many points of difference between the two localisation services, they still share a common goal, which is to make educational content outsourcing from India reachable to all students irrespective of their geographic location or any form of disability.

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