Making sure your videos have closed captions is not enough. You also have to make sure they’re accurate. Having inaccurate captions defeats the purpose of providing an easy way for people to consume the media. Not to mention that it’s bothersome and offputting for the audience. You might drive them away, lead them to distrust you and your work, or more.
There are a number of reasons why closed captions might turn out inaccurate. This includes:
- Loud background noises
- Background music being played
- Unfamiliar jargons or topic
- Use of foreign accents or foreign words
- Action scenes or fight scenes
- Dialogue with murmurs or whispers
- Poor audio quality as a whole
Whether you’re using a free transcription service to generate automated transcriptions or captions, or you’re transcribing your video manually, you need to do everything you can to make sure your closed captions are accurate.
Tips to increase the accuracy of closed captions
Use earphones or headphones
Make sure you use earphones or headphones when transcribing manually or going over the video to check the automated transcript. Earphones and headphones can help you focus on the audio and provide you clearer audio quality. With earphones or headphones, you’ll be able to understand the words better and improve your captions.
Consider the jargon or the topic at hand
It’s also crucial to consider the jargon being used or the topic at hand. There are videos that could be talking about science, about history, about cars, and more topics you’re not accustomed to. You might come across some unfamiliar words or unusual words that are not used in typical conversations. Research about the topic or the setting, research about the unfamiliar word and its meaning and then try to connect it with the topic.
Take note of the accents or foreign words
Accents are also some of the major reasons why closed captions are sometimes inaccurate. Heavily-accented speakers can be more difficult to hear and understand. Listen carefully and feel free to repeat the audio so you won’t miss anything important.
Additionally, words in foreign languages can also be mistaken in the creation of closed captions, whether it be automated or manual. It’s best to research about that foreign word or use a translation tool so you can correctly input it into your closed captions.
Look up song lyrics
Apart from dialogues and any verbal speech in a video, closed captions also include descriptions of background noises, audio cues, and even the lyrics of the background music. These lyrics can be a point of inaccuracy in your closed captions. Look up these songs and their lyrics to help you and make sure you get them right on your captions.
Double-check the transcript
And of course, no matter how much you think your captions are fine, double-check it. There might still be a few typographical errors that you missed the first time. Double-checking can help you get rid of those.
Double-checking the transcript is also essential, especially when handling automated captions and audio-to-text conversion engines. Automated captions and conversion engines are not entirely accurate so you can expect discrepancies, be it small or not.
Hire a proofreader or an editor
You also have the option to hire a proofreader or an editor. If you’re not comfortable in proofreading and editing the document yourself, you can let the professionals do the work. They’ll be able to go through typographical errors and even grammatical mistakes so you can further increase the accuracy of the closed captions.
Additionally, there are free transcription services out there who offer great editing services apart from their automated transcriptions. This can be a big help as you won’t have to do all the work or find a different person to do the editing.