What is Closed Captioning?

What is Closed Captioning?, Caption.Ed

When you’re watching your favourite programmes or shows, do you ever feel like you’re a step behind the action? 

Do you struggle to keep up with plot lines or get lost in a maze of character arcs?

Closed captioning is one way to help you with this. It’s popular with viewers who want to boost their comprehension of any dialogue, action, and stay on track with their viewing.

But what is closed captioning? In this article, we’ll answer that question. We’ll also offer you some insights on the uses of closed captioning.

What exactly is Closed Captioning?

Closed captioning offers viewers of films, programmes or presentations the chance to add or remove written text that reflects the dialogue, action, sounds or atmospheres on screen. 

Invented to support viewers who are deaf or have hearing loss, closed captions now help anyone who wants to better understand what they see and hear, and increase their comprehension skills. 

Closed captioning enables viewers to add words to the screen that synchronise with the dialogue and action. Unlike the burned-on captions that appear on ‘Open captioning’, closed captions give you the freedom to turn them on or off at any time.

What Does Closed Captioning Look Like?

If you’ve ever noticed a symbol with two ‘c’s surrounded by a box or square on a screen, it means you can add closed captions.

Photo of closed captions icon

Usually, by clicking on the box, you can introduce closed captions to any programme or film. And with their purpose designed for viewers who have hearing loss, closed captions also use a symbol of an ear with a line through it.

Photo of induction loop icon

Once activated, closed captions appear as text on the screen. And they should quickly help you understand better what you see or hear.

What is Closed Captioning Used for ?

These days, you can add closed captions to almost any visual medium. 

Plus, they’ll help you enjoy or understand what you see in many different ways: 

  • Increase accessibility  
  • Help you to hear presentations better when there’s background noise or difficulties with sound
  • Watch social media channels without sound – a study by Facebook showed adding closed captions to video advertising increased views by 12%.
  • Support with watching real-time livestreams and hosting conference calls via Teams or Zoom 

To help ESOL or English language learners pick up colloquialisms or nuances in dialect.

Closed captions can help you in ways you may not realise

We hope this article has given you some good answers to the question – ‘What is closed captioning?’ 

Today, closed captions are available on most visual mediums and formats. These include most digital presentations, lectures, communication apps like Zoom, streaming services like Netflix and social media channels.

And because they offer great benefits such as increased comprehension, closed captions are a useful and effective way to boost your understanding and learning. 

Closed captions are democratising viewing across the globe and now help everyone to enjoy the benefits of video-based presentations.