Subtitles & Closed Captions, Spot the Difference!

Hero Curve Element
Subtitles & Closed Captions, Spot the Difference!

There are few things better than curling up on the sofa and watching an award-winning film. A winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, an independent film shot in Spain or Russia… And films like this often have subtitles, or captions. The terms are often used interchangeably, giving rise to a lot of confusion. So what exactly is the difference between the two?

Well, subtitles are used essentially as a  translation of what is said by the narrative voice, or the speakers on-screen. So for a French film, for example, if the characters are speaking in French, then this might mean that the subtitles would appear in English at the base of the screen. (Of course the subtitles could be going from any language into any other language.) They are frequently subtitled into the most widely spoken languages though, of course.

Closed captions, on the other hand, are something entirely different. They are designed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and assume someone cannot hear the audio. They contain not only dialogue, but also descriptions of non-speech elements too. They may include descriptions of sounds, such as music, cars revving or glass breaking for example. The conventions followed for closed captions are not exactly the same as for subtitles and require a slightly different set of skills.

Need help?

Should you require our help with Subtitles & Captions do not hesitate to get in touch with us and our team will do their best to help you.


Do you need translations? Get in touch.

We are trusted by tv production companies, marketing and advertising companies around the world to provide a subtitling service in over 200 languages.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.