Video captioning and subtitling are essential not only for media companies but also for any business that wants to use video as a communication medium.

As your businesses start to produce more and more videos, it’s critical for an organization to consider using a video captioning service to outsource your video captioning efforts.

But how to choose closed captioning services, you ask? 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose a video captioning service, then we’ll list several captioning firms and service providers for your consideration, and finally, we’ll address some frequently asked questions concerning closed captioning service.

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How to Choose Video Captioning Services?

So, how do you choose a captioning service for your videos? The initial step is to figure out exactly what you need.

Step 1: Determine What Your Needs Are and Create a List of Requirements 

It will be easier to determine which video captioning companies and services are best for you if you keep your objectives in mind. 

You may have specific requirements for video captions depending on the platform on which the video will be viewed, the prospective audiences for your films or videos, and applicable laws in your region. 

As a result, before you start searching for potential video captioning providers, we recommend creating a list of requirements and considerations regarding your videos’ captions when selecting video captioning providers.

As a reminder, here are some considerations you might want to keep in mind:

  • How long are your videos? How many videos do you have?
  • How long should the turnaround time be?
  • What is the language of your videos? Are the languages and the content hard to understand by non-native speakers?
  • How many of your videos have technical or uncommon terms?
  • Do you need to translate your videos into other languages? Which languages are they?
  • Do you need to connect your internal system’s workspace to the captioning company’s API?
  • Can the video captioning company easily syndicate the video captions into the video hosting platforms where you host your videos?
  • Does the captioning service company allow you to collaborate with them in the working process?
  • Does the video captioning company take SEO into account while producing video captions?
  • What is the working process of the potential video captioning service providers?
  • How fast do your video captions need to be complete, and when is the deadline?

Step 2: Researching on available video captioning companies and services 

Researching a captioning company’s transcribing process using readily available content on their websites like third-party reviews and customer feedback is the greatest way to determine its cost-effectiveness. You’ll know you’re getting the most bang for your buck this way. To start, we compiled some video captioning services providers in this article.

Step 3: Deciding Which Vendor Meet Your Criteria, and Create a List for Initial Candidate

During your research, you will find some closed captioning services or subtitling companies that appear to meet your criteria, and organize them in your spreadsheet and remember to write down the following information:

  • Website address (include contact us page and quoting page)
  • Phone number
  • Price (if available)
  • Email
  • Other information that is useful found during your research.

Step 4: Contact the Closed Captioning Providers for More Information 

Now you have your initial list, it’s time to choose the final winner to work with! While most of the video captioning companies have very useful information regarding their video captioning process on their website, there might be some details you might want to confirm with your potential video captioning services providers. You can contact your potential closed captioning company by:

  • Calling the customer service line
  • Sending an email
  • Submitting a contact form
  • Contacting the company through social media direct message

Step 5: Based on Detailed Information, Evaluate Which Closed Captioning Service is Best for You

Finally, once you’ve gathered enough information about each captioning service provider, you may hold an internal meeting with your colleagues to evaluate which video captioning service is best for your company.

Step 6: Monitoring video captions’ quality

After you begin working with a specific video captioning provider, you should continue to monitor and evaluate the quality of work produced by that provider. We recommend assigning a dedicated team or at least several staff to conduct quality assurance on all the video captions created by your video captioning vendors.

If you discover that the service does not meet your expectations, iterate with your team to determine whether you want to renew your contract with the captioning company or switch to a different provider down the road.

What Questions to Ask Video Captioning Providers

Now that you’ve compiled a list of potential video caption providers, it’s time to conduct an interview with them or request additional information before making a selection!

Here are some questions to get you started if you don’t know what to ask:

1. How long will it take for me to receive my closed caption file? What is the turnaround time?

Video captioning providers offer turnaround times ranging from a few hours to several weeks. If you’re in a hurry and need your videos captioned in less than 24 hours, some companies may charge a rapid delivery fee.

2. What is the captioning process’s workflow?

When working with a video captioning company, a user-friendly interface and a simple working process can save you a lot of trouble.

As a result, you should always ask questions like: 

  • How many ways can you upload and download captions and the resulting videos? 
  • Do you provide flexible connectors and APIs?
  • What is the procedure for ordering and receiving closed captions?
  • What is your procedure when captioning your clients’ videos?
  • What subtitle or closed caption formats are available for download after the captioning procedure is completed?
  • How long will my captioning files be kept on your servers or database?
  • Where can I get my video caption files and how can I get them?
  • If they use automatic speech recognition technology, how does ASR work with human transcriptions and captioners?
  • Request a tutorial or a demo of their UI.

 3. Will my video closed captions be transcripted by native speakers?

It’s important that your captions are transcribed or at least proofread by native speakers. 

This is especially important if you want to transcribe a video in a language you’re unfamiliar with since in that case, you won’t even be able to do the quality assurance yourself after you receive the video caption files.

4. Are your closed captions compliant with the ADA, Section 508, CVAA, and FCC?

Different regions or platforms might have different standards that your video captions need to meet. It is important to make sure the closed caption provider you are working with has experience in creating captions meeting the requirements you need so you can release your videos on the intended platforms or regions.

5. Is the accuracy of your closed captions up to the required standards? How do you measure the accuracy of your video captioning work?

Because video-closed captions are intended to provide a comparable alternative to video for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, their quality is critical. When closed captions are inaccurate, they are inaccessible to a significant portion of the world population.

Inquire about the accuracy of their closed captions. If they respond with a number like “99 percent accuracy,” ask about how they calculated the accuracy of their works to get at that figure.

And depending on what kind of standard you need to meet based on the regions, platform your video will be watched or the target audiences of your videos are, you can rule out the closed captioning providers that don’t meet your requirements.

6. Is there any other fee that I should be aware of? (any hidden cost?)

The price of captions varies depending on the vendor. It all boils down to video length, service, features, and quality in the end.

7. Is there any discount or promotion?

Closed captioning fees can quickly pile up depending on the size of the production. Fortunately, some closed captioning services will allow you to pre-purchase a significant number of hours in advance with a discount or will offer you a discount if you have a large project. 

Make sure you ask them if your project is eligible for any discount offers or if they provide any pre-purchase hours with lower prices.

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