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Kids turn on captions when viewing video content

    closed captioning

    A few years ago, I noticed my daughter using cations when watching TV shows. I found cations to distract me when she left it on. I found it a little odd at the time but recently found that this is quite common with her generation and other generations before her. It seems that her generation and others that followed suit are fully integrated with social media, unlike my generation. Captions help them retain information without all the noise clutter in a movie.

    I found this fascinating but at the same time, I was doing the same in a different way. I have become enamored with TCM. I recently realized I like movies with less noise. The classic and not-so-classic movies on TCM have less decibel noise in the background. Are our movies getting louder and littered with noise pollution? Is the sound of silence now a luxury?

    Respondents said they used subtitles for various reasons: About 75% of people said they needed to improve understandability when audio was muddled, and 29% said that they used subtitles to avoid disturbing roommates or family members. About 20% of respondents said they use subtitles to learn a new language.

    And while adding captions isn’t especially difficult, many brands make mistakes: 

    • Captions may not sync correctly with audio content.
    • Captions may not contain all of the dialogue, musical cues, or important sound effects from the video. 
    • Automatic captions — while better than nothing — may be inaccurate.
    • Pre-rendered (or “burned-in”) captions may not be readable with screen readers (assistive software that converts text to audio). 

    But regardless of why people are using subtitles, the takeaway is clear: If your content doesn’t have an accurate text alternative, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.

    Fun Fact: The 4,000-year-old Epic of Gilgamesh recounts how one of the gods, unable to sleep through humanity’s racket and presumably a little cranky, opts “to exterminate mankind.”