Wondering how to make your videos more powerful, how to improve engagement metrics, and add more valuable SEO to your videos?
There is more to subtitles than you might think. They hold an important key to video success and are therefore worth understanding better to utilise all their potential.
As the demand and audience for videos are constantly increasing – with outstanding popularity on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram – computer technology is evolving. Providing the world with more powerful software that can help content creators streamline their work. With developments in artificial intelligence, it is now possible to auto-generate subtitles with the use of AI subtitling software.
Now sit back, and let us get into the juicy details of how subtitles influence your overall video performance.
Don’t let Anyone Shhhh You
Did you know that most videos nowadays are watched on mute? It might surprise you, but this is an outcome of a digital world where people often watch videos in public spaces; for instance, on the bus or at the gym – most of the time with the audio volume decreased or completely turned off.
Even at home people tend to mute videos – not because they do not care about what is said – but to not disturb anyone around, or simply just to be discreet. But why don’t people just use headphones? As it turns out, it is not always convenient to wear headphones.
So, what can you do when no one is listening? You create subtitles for your video – to unite the audible and the visual content. This way, viewers engage better with your video, even when they cannot actually “hear” you.
Not hearing you is not always a choice. Many people live with hearing impairment, which makes it difficult or even impossible to hear what is being said in your video. We are not talking small numbers, as today an estimated 466 million people are suffering from hearing difficulties – a number expected to rise to 700 million by 2050. In excess of this, 2.5 billion people worldwide are thought to have some degree of hearing loss. By adding subtitles to your video you make sure not to leave anyone out.
Create video SEO
SEO is short for search engine optimization and is the process by which search engine robots regularly crawl and search websites to detect keywords and other relevant factors to determine the ranking of pages in specific search inquiries.
Even though this process might sound cryptic, it is worth understanding and worth adjusting your content to make sure it reaches its full SEO potential.
Unfortunately, search engine robots are not able to detect the visual and audible content of videos, and therefore videos don’t get fairly credited in SEO. But don’t worry, because there is a simple way to get around this obstacle. By adding a subtitle file to your video, you provide the search engine robots with a text file that they can detect and “read”. This way your subtitles provide you with video SEO.
Bare in mind though, that not just any kind of subtitles will add SEO to your video. It must be closed caption subtitles, in order for the robots to detect and read them. Closed caption subtitles are created together with your video, but exist as a separate subtitle file (SRT, VTT) and are uploaded to your video on your chosen video platform. They can be turned on and off, and furthermore allow you to add a selection of subtitle languages to your video.
The kind of subtitles that are not going to provide you with video SEO is called open caption subtitles. They are burned onto your video, and therefore cannot be turned on and off – and neither can they be detected and read by search engine robots. Therefore, they do not contribute to video SEO.
Expand Your Audience
Dream big and expand your audience internationally. Your content might be relevant to many more than just the ones geographically closest to you, so why should you let language barriers stop you from sharing your content?
With closed caption subtitles, you can technically translate your subtitles into hundreds of languages. Although it is easy to get carried away in the desire to expand your audience, try to choose the languages most important to you and your audience in order to make a valuable selection of subtitles for your viewers to choose between.
Influence your brand
Did you know that you can style your subtitles? You can edit every subtitle card or character individually – choosing subtitle font, size, colour, position, and more.
Although subtitles first of all have to be clear and easy to read, their look should not be a coincidence. Just like the clothes you wear; subtitles can have a meaning and a message. By personalising the style of your subtitles, you can add influence to your brand.
Save time using AI software
Typing in subtitles manually does take a lot of time, but it is no longer necessary to do so. Within advanced computer technology, artificial intelligence is a hot topic right now! Letting computers and machines do otherwise human-managed tasks does add to both wonder and speculations – for instance on how well this actually works.
AI technology has made it possible to automatically generate subtitles for videos, and in fact, this has already become a very appreciated and successful video editing feature amongst content creators.
You might worry that AI software mishears everything, and you end up with a nonsense subtitle text. This is a valid concern to have, as we know that AI technology is nowhere near reaching the level of human intelligence and probably never will. But we can tell you, that when it comes to the specific function of auto subtitling, most AI software are actually quite precise with an accuracy of up to 98%. The AI uses speech recognition and neural network algorithms to transcribe speech into text. It is a time-saving tool as it will take the AI subtitling software around 20 minutes to subtitle a 2-hour-long video. This is only a matter of minutes if you are mostly doing shorter videos.
AI is less accurate when it comes to translating subtitles and general text, as translation is a more complex task to perform than subtitling itself. This comes down to the fact that languages have greatly diverse characteristics, and words can have different meanings depending on context. Where non-AI software translates word by word, the AI translation is being carried out based on advanced language models that consider composition, structure, syntax, and grammar to compose and translate into the most plausible sentence. Furthermore, the AI “learns” with every use, as it “remembers” errors and deviations that arise. This makes AI translation software more precise and trustable than non-AI translation software. Although AI translation software will not replace professional translators it is a very helpful tool in streamlining translators’ work, and for translating subtitles for social media platforms, it is considered an adequate software.
What to remember? Subtitle your videos, use closed caption subtitles, implement relevant keywords in your speech as well as in your subtitles, translate your subtitles to expand your reach, and let AI software help you in the process of impacting the world with your videos.
 Deafness and hearing loss, April 2021, World health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss