Video subtitles: boosting your reach, engagement and SEO value

Subtitles help people understand your content – quickly, easily and with demonstrable success. That’s why, for example, one of the biggest media companies in Switzerland is using them for its new corporate videos.

It’s almost impossible to find a campaign that doesn’t use videos these days. And according to a study by the hardware company Cisco, they’ll make up more than 82% of internet traffic by 2022. YouTube alone has more than 30 million active users who watch its videos every day – in 80 different languages.

Subtitles pay off

Subtitles make content accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and expand your audience into countless more languages. They also let people watch without sound, which 75% of viewers currently do. And their effect is statistically proven:

  • 80% of people tend to watch a video through to the end if it’s got subtitles
  • Videos with subtitles are watched 40% more often than videos without
  • Subtitled videos have a demonstrably higher level of engagement in terms of clicks, reactions and shares on social media
  • Subtitles provide better SEO results – not only on YouTube, but also on Google, because the stored subtitle scripts are scanned like text files

So when the major media company Ringier began producing staff videos for its new careers page, subtitles were part of the plan right from the start.

Content with a global reach

The clips in the new #BehindRingier video series offer an insight into the work of the international media company. With over 7,000 employees in 19 countries, Ringier knew it wanted to reach its audience in English as well as German. When it came to the subtitles, the company reached out to Supertext, since the language services provider has been producing translations and transcreations for Ringier for years – in languages as varied as French, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Video localization: how does it work?

Every project is different, but most follow these four steps – as Ringier’s project did.

1. Subtitles or dubbing?

When making a video multilingual, the first question is whether you want to use subtitles or dubbing (redoing the audio in the new language). Ringier chose subtitling. It allows people to watch without audio and it’s the cheaper of the two options, with quicker turnaround times. And it also means nobody will be thrown off by seeing the speaker out of sync with their own mouth.

2. Transcription

Transcription is when a native speaker writes out the spoken language in the video to provide a written version. They’ll usually convert any local dialect into more standard language in the process.

3. Spotting/time codes

Spotting means adding time codes to the written text. These determine the times at which the subtitles appear and disappear during the video.

4. Translation

In the final step, the subtitles are translated by native speakers. You can also have any text overlays in the video translated alongside the spoken content.

Thirty-two corporate videos in English and German

The result is a finished subtitle file, usually in the SRT format. You can then choose to upload this as an additional feature in your preferred media player, so viewers can turn the subtitles on and off as they wish – this is known as closed captions (CC). The alternative is open captions, which involve adding the subtitles as an integral part of the video and having them play automatically.

Ringier chose the second option, and within a few days it had 32 localized employee videos. These are now live on its careers page, ready to be found and understood in both English and German.

Cover image via Ringier

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *