A few months ago, the following tweet from @deafgirly (also known as Deafinitely Girly) received close to 73,000 likes and 69,000 retweets.
Subtitles aren't just for deaf people. Lots of my hearing friends use them, too. If you're hearing and find yourself using subtitles on Netflix and TV and would quite like them at the cinema, please retweet to help normalise their presence! Big thanks #DeafAwarenessWeek— Deafinitely Girly (@deafgirly) May 8, 2019
The tweet mentioned above reflects the appreciation viewers and consumers are showing for subtitles in today’s world. We’ve come a long way from failing to understand foreign videos to appreciating linguistically diverse visual content and using subtitling services of skilled experts.
For decades, subtitles and captions were an under-appreciated and mostly ignored art form for brands. Their necessity was addressed and fulfilled only when it came to foreign films and documentaries. Then, hard-of-hearing communities came forward demanding the ‘right to accessibility,’ and now, most video production in the USA and Europe require subtitles for hard-of-hearing, by law.
In the previous article of this series, we talked about the art of subtitling and why it is an essential part of the video production process. While you may understand why your videos need subtitles, you may still be unsure about how relevant they will be for your industry.
Here are 5 industries wherein brands are greatly benefiting from adding subtitles to their videos:
Subtitling for Travel & Hospitality
The travel and hospitality industry has been churning out excellent videos about food, culture, and lifestyle, as can be seen on social media accounts of many famous travel brands and influencers. Its sub-industries have been benefiting greatly from videos, too:
If your brand is a part of the travel industry, you are most definitely catering to customers from various cultures, countries, and linguistic groups. Adding multilingual subtitles to your videos is an excellent way of targeting your potential customers speaking different languages and also those who aren’t native speakers of your language.
You can utilise subtitles for:
Promotional videos for social media
Keeping in mind their linguistically diverse customer base, Airbnb released a video introducing their premium service Airbnb Plus in multiple foreign language subtitles – including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), and Chinese.
When you add multilingual subtitles to promotional videos introducing a new product or service, you’ll avoid limiting your video’s social media audience to a select few who are fluent in English.
Informative videos about travel destinations
Many brands that have travel websites and products share travel-related information to help their customers plan their itinerary, learn about their travel destinations, the culture prevalent in that region, and of course, traditional cuisine.
This is a prevalent form of video content in the travel industry as it gives the viewer a realistic perspective of a traveller, destination, or a prevalent issue related to the people who live in that region.
For instance, this travel documentary available on Netflix tells you about the world’s most celebrated sushi chef. Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows 85-year-old Jiro Ono’s journey of heading a humble, 10-seater restaurant in Tokyo that was awarded a three-star Michelin Guide rating.
Subtitling for eLearning
Given its dependability on visual content, the eLearning industry has been quick to appreciate the art of subtitling. Many popular eLearning web and mobile applications add subtitles to their videos, adding to the experience of audio-visual learning. There are many convincing reasons why your online video courses must have subtitles:
While a considerable number of students today would prefer learning through videos, the power of text cannot be ignored. When combined with visuals, text (in the form of subtitles) can improve the retention of information. Also, subtitles in recorded lectures help students comprehend strong accents.
Take, for instance, this recorded lecture, which is a part of Coursera’s courses about ‘learning.’
It’s been subtitled in an impressive number of languages (close to 45) to help students of all ages, and linguistic capabilities effectively take lectures and courses.
Before any student signs up for a course, he/she would like to check out the summary of the course or a particular module to understand what exactly it covers.
This Coursera course summary presented by the Arizona State University is subtitled in Chinese (simplified) and Spanish, considering that a large part of those wanting to learn English would be native speakers of these languages.
Subtitling for the Medicine & Healthcare Industry
The medicine and healthcare industry’s foray into visual content is with videos about the benefits of various health and hygiene products and services. Meanwhile, health departments and government health organisations operating across the world have been taking advantage of the visual medium to promote knowledge sharing and awareness.
Informative videos about health awareness, diseases, etc.
When it comes to spreading awareness about diseases, health issues, and medical care communities, videos are the best medium. The audio-visual medium does not only help viewers grasp information quickly but also makes them connect with it at a more personal level (say, fictionalised accounts of patients).
For such videos to create an impact, it’s essential that they conquer the language gap. TED ensured that Sangu Delle’s message about mental health reached viewers who spoke 33 different languages.
Medical training & instructional videos
While such videos usually manage to depict real-life situations well (either through animated characters or actors), the visualisation can be misinterpreted by those viewers who aren’t fluent in the source language.
This video instructing viewers about how to perform CPR has been subtitled in multiple languages, including Japanese, Russian, and Indonesian, to help native speakers of those languages correctly follow the instructions.
Subtitling for the Technical & Engineering Industry
All the technological advancements we’re witnessing today are making the world smaller, mainly by increasing everyone’s accessibility to information through mobile devices. However, how do you make your product genuinely accessible to consumers residing in all parts of the world? Answer – by sounding ‘familiar’ and talking to them in their language.
Informative videos explaining the working of machines & products
A video depicting the working of a machine or product is more ‘show’ and less ‘tell.’ It’s quite natural for your viewers to become so focused on the visuals that they miss out on a couple of words and, ultimately, lose the context of the video.
Enter subtitles. They ensure your viewers don’t miss out on anything and understand the concept completely.
Try watching the product video of Crowdsource by Google without and then, with subtitles in your native language. We bet you’ll feel more confident explaining the content of the video in the latter case.
Product videos and tutorials
Any video describing the features of your product, its benefits, or showing viewers the best ways to use the product creates a significant impact with subtitles. The audio complementing such videos usually include technical jargon, which the viewers must understand well to make the decision of subscribing to or buying the product.
The German automobile giant Mercedes-Benz stayed true to its roots by adding German subtitles to this video showing its unique user experience.
Additionally, subtitles can work well for launch videos that include the first glimpse of the product for your viewers.
Subtitling for Entertainment, Advertising, & Media
The most significant credit for supporting the art of subtitling should go to the entertainment and media industry. This industry has come a long way. From using subtitles to add to the authenticity of video productions to using subtitles as a ‘humour’ device. Many content creators on YouTube have embraced subtitling and are employing subtitling experts to ensure they get quality subtitles. They aren’t relying on YouTube’s inaccurate auto-generated captions for their videos.
Documentaries in the media industry typically aim to establish a connection between the viewers and the subject of the documentary. Facial expressions may be considered a universal language – one that people can understand and relate to without words. However, many studies have found that people speaking languages that have more defined words and phrases for describing emotions, tend to have different facial expressions compared to others.
Hence, it becomes essential that a documentary like Reset is released with captions in its source language (French) and subtitles in other popularly spoken languages, like English.
Reset charts the creation of French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s first ballet as the Artistic Director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Short social media videos
The perfect example of a YouTuber promoting inclusivity was when Tyler Oakley added subtitles to all his YouTube videos after he was inspired by YouTuber, Rikki Ponter’s campaign that urged producers to make their videos more accessible with subtitles. His community subtitled one of his videos into 68 languages!
Besides documentaries and social media videos, OTT (over the top) platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are also employing the power of quality subtitles to target viewers in different parts of the world. For instance, Netflix’s show House of Cards is great for people who wish to learn Spanish and French relevant to political and business fields.
While the industries mentioned above have been winning the ‘video content’ game with subtitles, other industries like gaming, law and order, eCommerce, software development, and customer service are also making great strides in embracing subtitles and using them to their advantage.