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Closed captions

What are closed captions?

Closed captions are a textual representation of the audio content within a video or other visual display that provides additional information or context for the video. Closed captions are also an important accessibility feature that enhances the viewing experience for a diverse audience. 

Closed captions are synced with the audio and visual elements of a video so that they accurately represent what’s happening during any given moment of the video.

Other important elements of closed captions are:

  • Dialogue: Words being spoken aloud by people on screen or by off-screen narrators.
  • Identifier: Closed captions always identify the speaker of the words you see.
  • Non-speech information: Includes sound effects and music notation.
  • Toggling: Closed captions can be toggled on or off, unlike open captions which are always on.

What is the difference between subtitles and closed captioning?

Subtitles and captions serve a very similar purpose, but there’s a key difference. Subtitles provide textual representation of a video in one or more different languages; closed captions are almost always in the same language that the video is in.

For example, if you want to watch a movie in a different language and still know what’s being said, you can turn on the English subtitles. If you want to watch a video in English but have a hard time hearing what’s being said, you can turn on the closed captions.

Adding closed captions to a live stream

Some live streaming platforms, like YouTube Live, have a closed caption feature you can turn on simply by going to your settings. Some live streaming software also lets you add closed captions to a live stream. If you’re streaming on LinkedIn using Restream, you can easily add closed captions.