Whether a video is designed to sell a product, announce a service interruption or simply provide information, subtitles can help achieve that goal — especially in settings where the audio is too low or is drowned out by ambient noise.
In these environments, a subtitle service can provide a visual solution, and supplement (or replace) audio voice overs through the use of on-screen text.
Like any other communication tool, how you employ subtitles depends entirely on the media’s intended use.
Below are just a few of the ways you can use subtitles to serve your customers and/or audience better.
1) Convey Information Visually
Subtitled videos are ideal if you need to share critical information that cannot be overlooked, like service updates in a subway system. In places such as public transit stations, which are often far too busy and noisy for audio speakers to be effective, subtitles can deliver the necessary information with little chance of misinterpretation.
In addition, multiple visual announcements can be delivered at the same time, unlike audio announcements that may drown each other out and therefore confuse passengers. Airports in particular can benefit from this by providing running subtitles that service passengers from different countries.
2) Advertise in More Locations
Think about it — why would you pay for a video advertisement in a public location where it is difficult for people to hear your message? If the customer can’t hear the voice over for a commercial or promotion that depends on sound, the ad is already losing half its impact.
By using a professional subtitling agency, advertisers can keep their commercials running in high-traffic areas without compromising their message. As with airport announcements, subtitles in multilingual markets can even run in multiple languages simultaneously and thus communicate to several demographics at once.
3) Enhance Travel and Tourism
Popular tourist attractions can easily draw hundreds — if not thousands — of people on any given day, many of whom hail from different countries and cultures. Making the location accessible to these visitors is good business, and one way to offer this accessibility is via subtitles on public service, promotional or informational videos.
Educational tourism locations such as museums, aquariums and planetariums can make especially good use of professional subtitling services, since they frequently employ video clips as educational aids. Ambitious institutions can even provide the same video in multiple languages, tailored to the languages spoken most often by guests.
4) Make Entertainment Accessible
Though some audiences prefer the use of voice overs to subtitles in film and TV, sometimes subtitles are simply the best — or only — option. Airlines, for example, make heavy use of in-flight entertainment, so TV and film studios hoping to license their content would do well to provide professional subtitles for their shows and/or movies.
Passengers generally have the option of headphones, of course, but there are times when their use isn’t feasible. Perhaps the passenger is hard of hearing. Maybe they find headphones uncomfortable. Or perhaps they can’t understand the language being used and need a running translation to follow along.
Whatever the case, subtitled videos provide entertainment even in noisy cabins, either supplementing or replacing the audio. And when the monitors are used for instructional videos, airlines can offer an extra level of customer service by providing subtitles for their in-flight safety information.
Video is a powerful medium that can effectively deliver messages and information to large numbers of people, even in highly crowded areas. But environmental, technical and location-specific challenges can interfere with audio and render it useless. Properly leveraged, a subtitle service can compensate for these limitations and maintain (or enhance) the ideal user experience.