Insights September 17, 2020

Transcription and subtitling – time-consuming but invaluable

Living Word
By Living Word

If you’re trying to produce content on a shoestring, you might not take kindly to the suggestion that subtitles and transcripts are crucial.

We explain why, despite being time-consuming, these efforts are worthwhile and likely to pay off.


Everyone knows that content is king. Most will at this stage also agree that video, in particular, is a royal form of content. As the most clicked-on and engaged-with type of content, video comes with heaps of opportunities – but in some cases, they’re not seized in full. When a video goes viral and a web user who is hard of hearing plays it, you either impress them or let them down. By adding subtitles, you can show not just that you do things properly, but that you care – and it’ll increase the risk of people watching on silent when turning the volume up is not an option, too.


But audio, naturally, also comes on its own and not just as part of video content. The podcast scene is booming too, but why put the time and effort into producing quality audio content without making it available to those who can’t or don’t want to listen? Not everyone likes podcasts. Not everyone has the time and space to listen – but that’s not to say that they’re not interested in your content! Podcast transcripts double up as blog posts and interviews of sorts, and while they take some time to produce, they very much write themselves as no thinking needs to go into them. Really, it’d be a waste not to.


The good news is that transcripts and the like come with added benefits. A half-hour podcast alone results in a lot of words, all of which will be crawled by Google and other search engines, likely full of keywords relevant to you, which will help your ranking significantly over time. Video, meanwhile, can’t be crawled by Google, but the supporting text and captions can. See it as a way of telling the search engine that you’re producing all this useful content and that they should send relevant web users your way.


Finally, the perhaps most ignored benefit of putting in the aforementioned work: the ease of translation and localisation. When you’ve already done the work of subtitling and transcribing your multimedia content, translating it becomes a far smaller project than it would be if your language agency had to engage transcribers as well. Depending on the type of content, you might choose to get a transcreation professional to give it the treatment it needs, including all the awareness of cultural sensitivities and trends that goes into a successfully localised campaign that travels well.

Want to know more about the ins and outs of video translation? We’ve written a guide to talk you through the process.