According to the Digiday site, 85% videos on Facebook are consumed without sound when users decide to turn it off in their scroll. This unequivocal observation calls for companies to pay more and more attention to the impact on their social media content …

In this context, one of the most important factors is the addition of subtitles which make the message sent by your videos understandable at a glance. Easily readable and visually pleasing captions increase the rate of reading and engagement of the content, even when the sound is on.

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The accessibility of your videos on social networks is therefore of undeniable importance. But the work involved is much more complicated than it sounds. We give you here a small guide to orient you.

1 # Perform an efficient transcription of your video

The first factor of accessibility, and not the least, is the quality of your video transcription. Lots of people go out of their way to get a quick transcription job, but in reality there is no shortcut. This is also why transcription is a profession!

The bravest solution is to want to hand-transcribe the audio sequences of your video. This is for you to complete an SRT file by noting everything that is said there, according to a precise video transcription method.

If this is indeed an episodic and rather short project for you, nothing prevents you from starting in this way. However, here are just a few tips:

  • The use of foot pedals or keyboard shortcuts is essential to be able to control the audio flow. This allows you to focus on your transcription task;
  • You can also use headphones, which isolate you from noise and increase your concentration;
  • There are software programs like Express Scribe or Transcriber which synchronize your foot pedal to the playback of your video;
  • Don’t overlook the potential of keyboard shortcuts.

Obviously, it is more complicated to reproduce this process on a large scale. This is where the voice recognition technologies that have emerged on the market in recent years come in. These solutions allow you to automatically transcribe the audio content of your video into editable text.

We first think of the automatic captioning included in platforms like YouTube or Facebook (or even IGTV on Instagram), but there are other more effective tools that I will present to you later.

2 # translate your subtitles accurately

Another difficulty in subtitling work, translation into different languages ​​and nationalities requires specific skills that are not given to everyone. More still knowing how to understand the meaning of the words of a foreign language, it is also a question of adapting the length and the construction of the sentences to the format of the video.

You can also try to do it individually, but there are precautions to follow:

  • Do not try to translate a sentence literally, rather try to find different turnings more understandable to the speakers;
  • There are languages ​​like Japanese which tend to take up more space than other languages. Make sure to adapt their wording by creating short and effective translations;
  • Take inspiration from movie subtitles that are often edited by experts.

Another tip: use a translator like the one integrated into YouTube, Deepl or Google Translate to have a working basis.

But then again, there are other solutions that can save you more time.

3 # well customize their appearance

Exact subtitles are good, but readable and well-constructed subtitles are better! In this regard, their size, their positioning, their font are essential factors that should not be overlooked.

Here are some recommendations from the official BBC guidelines:

  • Subtitles should be no longer than 70 characters, dividing the sentence into two equal parts;
  • The sequences of your subtitles should be between 1 and 6 seconds long to ensure comprehension;
  • Subtitles are usually positioned at the center and bottom. But sometimes they can obstruct visibility and need to be moved;
  • Try to start your sequences exactly when the speaker begins to speak. If the speakers are speaking fast, you can try changing the wording or allowing more time for reading;
  • The text, rhythm and timing of each participant’s lyrics must be well synchronized. In the case of a more confused dialogue between several people, one should not hesitate to privilege the words of certain people over others;
  • There are many font options. If you are not necessarily looking to differentiate yourself, we recommend classics like Roboto, Tiresias, Times New Roman …

4 # improve your productivity in creating subtitles

Okay, you see, creating captions is a long and complex process. Fortunately, there are a growing number of tools that are chewing your job by automating it.

For example, social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram already include transcription and machine translation technologies as needed. But be careful, for projects with more volume and length, it is sometimes difficult to have a good result. These technologies can sometimes lack accuracy and organized work-flow for more professional work processes.

I present here 2 types of services that can better help you to this end:

  • Platforms for connecting with freelancers and subtitling agencies. These are services that are very successful in the United States and which connect you to competent and efficient collaborators for your video projects. We can think for example of Rev.com, Authot.com or Upwork.com;
  • Full automatic captioning solutions. These allow you to manage subtitling projects from A to Z, having easy-to-use transcription, translation, and editing technology. They can also have collaborative functions. We can mention here sites like Checksub.com or Happyscribe.com.

It’s up to you to choose the solutions that best suit your needs and work habits.

5 # The question of encoding subtitles in the video

Last question, and not the least: choose between subtitles encoded in the video (and which cannot therefore be removed) and closed subtitles (CC) that can be removed and added as desired.

The answer depends on the platform where you want to publish your video. In general on social networks (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram…), you have the choice between uploading a video with encoded subtitles, and downloading an SRT file to add the subtitles to your content. But some platforms leave you with no choice but to provide a video with captions already entered.

In the latter case, you can use automatic captioning software, or default video editors like VlC, Imovie, or Aegisub to get the job done. If you have a choice, we recommend that you encode it as well, because you can then keep the personalization and positioning parameters.

That’s all we can tell you to optimize the accessibility of your content on social networks. We hope we have been useful to you!