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5 Benefits of Subtitles

Remote with buttons labeled lang and subtitle

When you watch video content online, do you turn on the subtitles? Do you watch TV at home with subtitles and captions? Have you tried watching foreign movies or series with English subtitles? Do you find it an inconvenience or do you find it to be helpful?

Subtitles are an excellent addition to any video content out there, whether it be short video ads, films, or TV shows. Some people are not fond of subtitles and can claim that it’s bothersome, but they may not be getting the big picture. Subtitles do a lot more than just display the speech or the dialogue of a video. In fact, subtitles, captions, and other transcriptions are quite beneficial to the film industry. Here are five great benefits of subtitles!

They provide clarity

Subtitles are useful when watching shows that go beyond day-to-day subjects. Imagine watching a medical or police drama series with various technical terminologies, or a fantasy series with fictional places and unusual names. It will surely be difficult to follow along with the story and the characters if the audience doesn’t know or understand half of the words being said. Subtitles can provide the needed clarity for viewers and let them enjoy and absorb whatever they’re watching. 

They improve literacy and comprehension

A study shows that subtitles have an impact on the literacy and comprehension of students. Students who consumed media with subtitles and captions scored higher in reading comprehension rather than those who did not. Specifically, they can help improve reading speed and fluency, word knowledge, vocabulary acquisition, word recognition, and even listening comprehension. This just proves that subtitles aren’t a nuisance and that they actually aid in language and reading.

They help bilingual education

As subtitles help in literacy and comprehension, they can also help bilingual education. People easily learn a new language just by watching and being exposed to foreign films and shows with subtitles. Additionally, in one study by the National Institute of Health, they found that subtitles benefit ESL learners (and others) in various ways including learning comprehension, attention, and memory. 

They widen reach

Earlier this week, the Korean thriller movie Parasite gained praise and made history as it snagged the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. In his speech, director Bong Joon Ho said: “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This statement couldn’t have been any truer.

Subtitles allow you to widen your reach and allows viewers to explore more foreign films and shows other than English ones. At the same time, subtitles also widen the reach of filmmakers and production companies with every foreign language subtitle they provide. In this case, it’s clearly a win-win situation for both the audience and films. 

They make media accessible for anyone and anywhere

Accessibility is one of the most notable benefits of subtitles. Whether it be online videos, movies, or tv shows, anyone, including the deaf and the hard of hearing can access these kinds of media. Subtitles allow them to see and engage with these just as any hearing person would.

With subtitles, people will also be able to access it anywhere. This can include sound-sensitive environments like libraries or work offices, or boisterous surroundings such as malls and other public places. 

Try using a free transcription service to create subtitles for your videos and films! And if you’re part of the audience, try turning on the subtitles. These are just five of the known benefits of subtitles and you could discover more of them every day.