5 Different Types of Captioning You Should Know About

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Rising numbers of smartphone users are adding captioning to their content. And it’s no surprise since captions help users to follow dialogue and improve their language comprehension. So which types are available to use? And how does each one impact viewers’ experiences? We’ll reveal more in this blog post.

Captioning Helps People to Increase Access and Enjoyment

Adding captions to any form of visual content benefits users in several ways. And it’s why so many people add captions to their favourite shows, instructional videos, and learning materials. Here are a few ways it’s become important to people:

Types of Captioning You Should Know About

Apps, tech platforms, and accessibility tools all use different types of captioning. To explain more, here are some of the more common types:

Live Captioning

Live captioning is a powerful and effective way to provide audiences with accurate written versions of spoken words using AI and machine learning. It usually draws on ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) or speech-to-text technology and provides instant and on-demand captions for almost all live media formats. 

Caption.Ed is the perfect example of live captioning and uses speech-to-text technology. It supports both live and in-person captioning along with pre-recorded media too. Other forms such as stenocaptioning or respeaking can help to create live captioning too.

  • Stenocaptioning: Uses either shorthand or a stenotype machine to create captions at high speeds, often used in courtrooms. 
  • Respeaking: Captioners listen to an audio feed and then repeat the words into voice recognition software.  

Closed Captions

Closed captions let users turn captions on or off on any pre-recorded media. It’s usually highlighted by the ‘CC’ symbol and available on streaming platforms. Closed captions assume a viewer can’t hear the audio track. So it will include all non-spoken elements including background noises. And it’s different from subtitles which offer a direct translation of different spoken languages. 

Closed captions are available for most formats and are an easy way for learners to add captions and increase accessibility to on-the-move content.

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Open Captions

Open captioning applies only to pre-recorded content. It’s an ‘always on’ option that burns captions onto media. In practice, this offers the fairest choice for viewers and removes any risk of inaccuracies. Of course, captions need to be accurate in the first place for everyone to benefit. 

Open captions are usually compatible on all platforms and devices. And this offers a convenient way to access content while removing any need for extra tools. Open captions may appear on instructional videos or foreign language media.

Verbatim Captioning

Verbatim captioning services convert sounds into accurate captions. While it’s a similar end product to ASR or speech-to-text technology, verbatim captioning needs translation from humans. And it can apply to most types of media files ranging from .SRT and .SMI to .RT and .WebVTT. Bear in mind that verbatim captions only apply to pre-recorded media and don’t apply to in–person or live lecture formats.

Smart Caption Technology

Smart caption technology offers exciting ways to bring live captioning to theatres, cinemas, and conversations. It draws on a unique technology that widens access for people with hearing impairments and boosts attendance at live theatre, cinema, museums, galleries, and exhibitions.

Some of the more exciting caption technology includes:

  • Smart Caption Glasses: Smart caption glasses offer theatregoers with hearing loss the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits that come from live performance. A great example of this is the National Theatre’s Smart Caption Glasses system. The NT offers users an always-on, automated captioning service that listens to stage performances and sends a text version to the glasses via Wi-Fi. Stats show the service has increased the rate of captioned performances to 80%. 
  • Captioning on Glass: This state-of-the-art technology enables anyone to access captions using glasses technology. Companies including Google and XRAI glasses use AR technology to provide real-time captions when engaging in any spoken conversations. Acting like an interpreter, this technology offers real-time subtitles between two people and converts conversations into written text.    
  • CaptiView by Dolby: CaptiView makes closed captions available to cinemagoers using wireless frequencies. The Dolby CaptiView device houses a small OLED display on a bendable support arm that can fit into a cinema or theatre seat cup holder.  
  • Captioning to a device: Caption.Ed is also available as a smartphone app. It has an in-built mic that picks up in-person conversations along with all types of external audio. And it produces captions in real-time, direct to a user’s mobile.   

Caption.Ed is the Most Dynamic Captioning Available

Captioning is a popular way for video or audio media viewers to engage with language, boost memory and consume content. But it’s also widening accessibility for people with hearing loss while supporting Gen Z to improve their focus and learning. 

Live captioning technology benefits all types of live demonstrations, lectures, and presentations. But moving between platforms to access closed captioning can be clunky, difficult, and inconvenient. This is where Caption.Ed offers a key advantage. Through a dynamic and adaptive approach, it offers access to real-time captions for all live and pre-recorded media. It also removes the need to activate captioning on individual platforms and empowers users to caption conversations from any platform, including Zoom and MS Teams. 

Contact our team today to find out more about how you can get accurate, real-time captions in live and pre-recorded media contexts through Caption.Ed.

Customer Story: Discover how Caption.Ed has assisted Archie in his second year studies.