Can Subtitles Boost the Reach of a Video?

One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, yet words are necessary to explain the video’s message. Generally speaking, video content has proven to be the preferred medium for today’s digital audience, with videos expected to represent 80% of all online traffic by 2021 and more than 82% by 2022. On the other hand, video marketing is now considered a fundamental pillar of any digital marketing strategy. Around 87% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2019, up from 63% and 81% in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

With this in mind, companies are now competing over the rapidly-increasing global online viewer base and making every possible effort to attract more video views. One cost-efficient and guaranteed way to double up your multimedia content viewership is multilingual subtitling. Adding subtitles to your video in multiple languages will not only bring in more views, but also expand your overall business reach. 

Evidenced with stats from all around the globe, it is fair to say that subtitling is the magic wand you need to reach out your audience in different parts of the world. What is subtitling? Does your business really need it? And if yes, how can you make the most out of it? The following is detailed in-depth answers to all these questions.

What is subtitling?

First off, let’s define what subtitling or captioning is. By definition, subtitles are time-coded textual captions displayed at the bottom of the screen within a video or a broadcast to transcribe or translate the audible details of that audiovisual content. In other words, subtitling is the art of capturing what is going on along a video running time in writing and syncing it with the video.

In a sense, subtitling might be the easiest way to deliver the message of any multimedia materials and carry this message over to new layers of viewers. Whether it is a movie, an entertaining show, an educational tutorial, or a business video, subtitles would add real value.

In numbers, subtitling is a demonstrated and acknowledged way to increase video viewership. Recent trials from top-tier online publishers showed a 40% increase in video viewing when overlaying closed captions and subtitle screen layers to online video.

Classifications of Subtitling

There are different types and variations in subtitling, and picking the right captioning solution always depends on your purpose and business objectives. Subtitles are classified at various scales; below is a detailed explanation of each type so you can independently choose the most suitable for you.

Transcription or Translation?

Subtitling services can be provided in the original language of your multimedia file or any other foreign language. The source-to source subtitling refers to the transcription of the video's audible content in the same language. It is usually created to help people with hearing impairments or who prefer to watch videos with sound off. Translated subtitling services, on the contrary, require an extra translation step and target viewers speaking different languages. Simply put, transcription assumes the viewers can not hear the video, while translation assumes they can listen to it but can not understand it.

Intelligent or Verbatim?

Whether it is a transcribed or translated text, subtitles can be divided into two main categories with regard to the amount of details they cover. Verbatim subtitling features every single verbal and non-verbal sound in writing and sometimes includes the background noise. Intelligent or edited subtitling is an accurate transcription or translation of the relevant and essential dialogues.

Open or Closed?

Subtitling services can be offered in the form of open or closed captions. Open subtitling refers to the permanently fixed captions that come as part of the video file. Closed captions or subtitles can be easily turned on and off in the video player as they are set up on a separate track. Closed captions offer an extra option to hide the subtitles if the viewer does not want to see them.

Machines or Humans?

The recent advancements in voice recognition and neural machine translation technologies made automatically generated subtitling possible. Nevertheless, humans still offer much higher quality and further accuracy. Automatic captioning could be considered when subtitles are provided in the source language, especially if you have the option to edit these subtitles. In foreign languages, the extra script translation and synchronization with the screen display tasks make automated subtitling solutions an unfavorable choice.

Unlimited reach

Without subtitles, your video could be missing out many potential viewers who may be in need of your products or services. Partnering with a specialized language service provider and choosing the right subtitling solutions for your business will boost your reach and convey your multimedia messages to a lot more audience. Captioning your video will get you the opportunity to reach the following segments:

Hearing Impaired People

The world has around 466 million people with disabling hearing loss, and subtitling is the best tool you can use to make your video content accessible for them. Just because they can not listen to your video does not mean you can not reach them as part of your target audience. All you need to is hiring a sufficient subtitling service provider and get your video through to hearing impaired people.

Muted Video Viewers

Studies found that 85 percent of Facebook videos are played with the sound turned off. This could probably be attributed to the fact that people are watching more videos on their smartphones at work or in the public transportation where they set their phones on silent mode. When you caption your videos, you are more likely to capture the attention of those muted video viewers.

Foreign Viewers

Above all else, multilingual subtitles are usually created with the aim of attracting global viewers in today’s online world. No matter your industry or field of interest, your video is set to go viral on an international scale with a simple subtitling task. It is important, though, to find a reliable language partner that provides professional translated subtitling services with industry-specific expertise.

And everyone else...

In general, 80% of people are more likely to watch the entire video with captions available. The story began in the early 20th century, when some movies started to include transcription subtitles. The vast majority of movies are now provided with multilingual captions and aired all around the world. Not only the entertainment industry, educational multimedia content is always preferred to be displayed in writing, so students can take notes and keep track of the spoken content, while marketing promotional videos are subtitled to go global.

Other Benefits

Subtitles do not only take your video to new segments of audience you barely reached before; they also boost your marketing efforts and extend your business reach. Here are two main aspects of how subtitles go far beyond the increase in number of viewers:


(1) Engagement

Subtitles enrich your multimedia content and make it more engaging by reaching more people and addressing them in their own language. Especially as you go global, offering subtitles in multiple languages makes your video more relevant and resonating with your audience. Therefore, viewers are more likely to react and interact with your videos that are subtitled in their mother tongue.


(2) SEO

Adding subtitles supports your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and increases your website ranking in the search results. Google algorithms are capable of identifying the written content more than multimedia; subtitles help Google spiders crawl and index your pages better and more easily. Moreover, subtitles are proven to increase the average watching time of your video, which gives you more credibility and improves your search rankings.

Sweet Spot


The takeaway of all this is that any multimedia content is more comprehensible, engaging, and reachy when subtitles, especially if multilingual, are available. With their many different types, subtitles reap numerous benefits to video makers, regardless of their industries. Since video creation is now all the rage, captioning your video in one or more languages seems like a perfect way to outreach your brand message, support your marketing efforts, and head toward global success.