Transcription vs. Caption | Which One Should You Choose for Your Next Video?

Caption vs. transcription are two terms that are often confused. Both are intended to make audio and video content accessible for all society members and sometimes are even required by law.

What's the difference between transcription and caption?

Roughly speaking, transcription is the process of turning audio or video content into written text. Captions, on the other hand, are a type of transcription that include both the spoken word and any sound effects in the video. This blog post will explore the differences between transcription and captions in more detail and help you pick between the two for your next project.

Why are two terms confused so often?

Transcription and captions are often confused because they are both used to provide a text version of audio or video content. Also, the process is the same in both cases - a human or software writes down all the words and/or sounds heard in the audio.

However, several nuances make those two completely different. And if you're working on your next video project, it's high time to dive deeper into transcription vs. caption.

Let's go step by step.

What is transcription?

Transcription is the conversion of spoken words into raw written text. It's usually just plain text, written down in the same order as heard in the audio. There are three types of transcriptions:

  1. The most common is verbatim transcription, which includes every word that is spoken, as well as any sounds or pauses.
  2. Clean read transcription is a condensed version of the audio or video content, taking out any filler words or long pauses.
  3. Time-indexed transcription includes timestamps every few seconds to help you locate specific moments in the recording.

Regardless of which transcription option you choose, the deliverable is usually a text presented separately from the video or audio material. This means a person willing to access a transcribed text should read it without a synchronized video, making it slightly confusing to understand the video material thoroughly.

And here's when captioning comes to help.

Transcription vs. Caption | What makes the caption different?

A caption is a type of transcription that includes the spoken word and any sound effects or on-screen text in the video. However, the key difference between caption and transcription is that the former is synchronized with the video. This means captions appear on the screen in parallel to the spoken text, and one can read the text when it's pronounced in the audio.

That's why captions are required by law, while transcripts aren't necessary for content creators. Captions make videos accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers and those who are not fluent in the language of the video.

Choosing captions can also help your podcast get ADA compliance; what is ADA compliance? It refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act to aid people with disabilities in overcoming institutional and technological bias that keeps them from accessing information.

What are the Main types of Captions?

Captions can be either open or closed. Open captions are always visible, while the viewer can turn off closed captions if they choose so. Regulation of closed captions is available with the [CC] sign at the bottom right of the video.

Another distinction stands between offline and real-time captioning.

1) Offline captioning is done after the video has been recorded, and the transcription is done from the pre-recorded audio material.

2) Real-time captioning, on the contrary, happens as the video is being recorded. As you can guess, the latter is significantly more complicated, requiring the transcriber to have high typing speed, accuracy, and attention to detail.

What's the best way to create transcription or captions?

The difference between transcription and caption is pretty formal from the creator's side, as captions are written based on the audio transcription. So, if you want to have subtitles for your content, you should start with an accurate transcription first.

Well, and how should you proceed with transcription for your video

Writing down what you have just heard seems pretty straightforward. That's why many creators mistakenly overlook the importance of proper resource allocation to this process. However, in reality, transcriptions happen at a ratio of 3:1 or 2:1 or even lower. This means you can spend an hour transcribing a 20-30 mins long audio.

Won't you be sorry to spend so much time on a manual task like transcription? Our tip is to use AI-driven transcription software that will deliver the same result 5-6 times faster.

Let do the job!

Podcastle's FREE audio-to-text feature has a transcription accuracy of up to 95%. This means it will take you a few clicks to extract text from your submitted audio/video material and only a quick review to maximize its accuracy score.

On top of that, the software is very user-friendly. All you need to do is upload your audio file, and the transcription will be ready in minutes.

If you need a high-quality transcription or caption for your next video, don't hesitate to try out without any charge!

Transcription vs. Caption | Why should you choose at least one for your content?

A gentle reminder that in many countries, using video captions is a legal requirement to ensure equal access for all. But what if you're not forced to do it in your country? Should you give up on captioning, or should you still care for proper subtitles for your content? We highly recommend the second option, and here's why.

Transcribed content is easier to consume

People often watch videos while doing something else, like exercising or cooking. In these cases, transcription can greatly help follow the video content. It's also useful for people who are not native English speakers and might have trouble understanding some words because of pronunciation. Last but not least, many people watch videos in crowded places, where  hearing the audio is not as easy, and subtitles make it just great!

Transcription is great for SEO

Google can't watch your videos, but it can read the transcription of those videos. This means that including a transcription as a part of your video content allows you to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Isn't that something your content deserves? So if you're looking to improve your videos’ SEO, transcription is a great way to do it.

Still confused? Read our detailed guide on why your videos need to be transcribed.

To wrap up

Transcription is a must-have element when it comes to creating accessible content and promoting it. It’s also available to you at zero cost with Any reason not to transcribe your content right now?

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