Transcription and captioning seem to go hand in hand, so much so that many transcription services offer captioning too, but it’s important to realize that these are two very different disciplines, albeit if they do share some characteristics.
Captioning and transcription both have their own set of unique uses, benefits, and critical legal requirements, so diving deep into their differences can help your business know which one is right for you. They both help make content more accessible and user friendly, but their applications do vary from each other. Here are the differences between transcription and captioning.
Transcription can be described as the process of converting speech or other forms of audio into a written, plain text document called transcripts. The results of transcription are that there is physical documentation of a meeting or an interview that can be stored far more easily, which also allows for users to easily find specific information within that document.
As it’s all written in plain text, there is no time information attached to it, meaning the reader doesn’t know when something was said in the recording. Transcriptions can be done both in verbatim and in a clean read. Verbatim is where the audio is transcribed word-for-word and includes all the nuances of the spoken word such as stuttering, pauses, and sound effects. A clean read doesn’t focus on this extra stuff and just edits the audio to ensure that there is a more fluid and easily digestible document.
Transcription’s main benefit is that it is an accessibility tool that can help people engage with your content better. A transcript of a podcast or radio show for example can help improve the comprehension of ESL listeners and allows for increased user interaction. In fact, transcription can also help boost the SEO of your content as it provides a medium where search engines can read your content, helping it to rank.
Captioning is the process of dividing transcript text into chunks known as caption frames, and time coding these frames so that the transcribed speech syncs up with the audio of a video.
Captioning is most commonly found on videos and television shows and is done to help make the audio clearer to understand and more accessible to people who are hard of hearing. Closed captioning is at its best when it’s able to depict not just the speech, but also sound effects and various speakers when they aren’t apparent in the visuals. CART transcription is a good way to do captioning as it can caption or transcribe spoken word in virtually real-time, and is the technology used to create captions for live television.
Providing that captioning is done accurately, there are many benefits to be had with captioning. Firstly, it allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to better engage with content. It can also make it clearer to understand video speakers whose first language may not be English, while also making it easier for viewers with learning disabilities to understand the content. It can also make your video more attractive to watch for people who are in quiet places and can’t play the audio, giving them the option to view your content in silence.