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The Ultimate Guide to Subtitles: Different Types, How They Work, and When to Use Them

Video subtitling is an instrumental tool in reaching untapped global markets and making your video content accessible to other countries in an array of languages.

However, subtitling can be a complex and nuanced media accessibility solution, especially when compared to captions.

Using the knowledge and experience of 3Play’s tenured subtitling experts, we created this eBook to help you gain a comprehensive understanding of video subtitling.

Topics include: 
  • Different types of subtitles
  • How each subtitling type functions
  • Comparing individual subtitling types & how they stack up against captions
  • How to choose the right subtitling solution for your viewers, based on use case

Download the Guide:

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Subtitling 101 

Subtitles, at their core, are a timed text accessibility and translation solution. In the context of media production, timed text files are usually intended to pair the transcription of dialogue and/or sound to media. The timing information allows the text to be synchronized to specific time codes of media.

Subtitles can be open or closed. Open subtitles are permanently burned into the media and cannot be turned off. Closed subtitles are usually paired to media via a sidecar file and can be toggled on and off, depending on the user’s preference.

There are a few different types of subtitles, but the primary three used across industries today are:

• Subtitles for the D/deaf and hard of hearing (SDH)
• Non-subtitles for the D/deaf and hard of hearing (non-SDH)
• Forced narrative subtitles (FN)

A Full Service Media Accessibility Solution

3Play Media is an integrated media accessibility platform with patented solutions for closed captioning, transcription, live captioning, audio description, and localization. 3Play is a thought leader in video accessibility, and is committed to providing free, educational resources like this one.

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