Subtitles vs Closed captioning. Which one is the best for your content? What are the differences? Often, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between subtitles and closed captioning. In fact, many believe they are the same. Whilst they do share similarities, they are different. Additionally, they’re designed for different purposes.

Both video techniques look similar. So, it’s understandable that there is confusion. In this article, we are going to look at the differences. As well as how they are used.


  • Video subtitles provide an alternative to dialogue and visual cues in text form. Often, they are intended to translate the original dialogue into another language. Subtitles are timed to match the original dialogue. So, you can read the translation as the video plays.
  • For an example of subtitling:

Subtitles vs Closed Captioning

Closed Captions

  • Closed captions (CCs) are also an alternative to dialogue. In addition, they include a description of the soundtrack, describing background noise, and non-speech audio etc.  They are intended for viewers from the hard–of–hearing and deaf community.
  • For an example of closed captioning:

Subtitles vs Closed Captioning

Subtitles translate the original content in other languages to provide a written form to foreign audiences. Whereas, closed captions transcribe the original content in the same language to describe the original audio to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.  In short, subtitles are a translation service. In comparison, closed captions (CCs) are an accessibility service.

Subtitling vs closed captioning: Why is the difference between these techniques so important?

  • For most videos, captions are required by law in the USA. So, it’s important to make your content accessible in this way.
  • Closed captions and subtitles are serving different audiences with different needs. Using the correct one will improve audience engagement with your content.

Want to reach more audiences with your content? SPG offers voiceover services in over 40+ languages. Speak with one of our experts today:

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