Are professional subtitle providers still relevant when sites like YouTube offer free automated subtitle generators for uploaded videos? Absolutely, I say.
Though used primarily for personal and viral clips, the percentage of non-recreational videos on YouTube, such as news streaming and corporate communications, is steadily on the rise. Subtitles add a lot of value to these videos, and one feature of YouTube that seems to have caught on is the option to have the site automatically generate subtitles or captions for you.
At first glance, the feature is convenient, cost-effective (usually free), and fast. But before you go running to hit the “upload” button, here are a few things you should keep in mind about automated subtitles.
1) Automated Doesn’t Automatically Mean Good
Using an automated subtitle generator may be acceptable for certain projects, but the Internet is rife with examples of horrible subtitling. Even clearly enunciated words can come out mistranslated or garbled.
Add in ambient noise or music, and you might end up with a completely unintelligible set of subtitles. This may lead to your video going viral, but for all the wrong reasons.
Professional subtitle services give you reliable, high-quality subtitles and captions that account for all the nuances of a person’s speech, while keeping sync with what’s happening on-screen.
2) Audio Isn’t Always Available
There are times when your video has to rely solely on its subtitles, and not on the audio track.
If your viewer is hard of hearing, for example, or if the video is being played in locations where audio is inconvenient or impossible, your audience won’t have the benefit of an audio track to help them decipher erroneous subtitles.
In those cases, it is doubly important that you employ professional quality subtitles. If not, you run the risk of alienating your viewers who might get annoyed, confused, or even offended.
3) YouTube Isn’t an Expert — or Multilingual
If you can forgive the occasional mistake, automated subtitling programs can do passable work for videos that use plain, standard English.
But what if you’re trying to explain the inner workings of your latest data protection product? Or reporting on the different factions of a foreign country’s civil war? Will the online subtitling program be able to tell the difference between technical jargon and garbled speech on the fly? Not likely.
Professional subtitle services have real people at the keyboard, each of whom will be able to properly encode acronyms, buzzwords, and proper names with great accuracy.
And if your video happens to include foreign-language segments — or needs to be translated into another language entirely — they can help with that, too.
4) Professional Is as Professional Does
Let’s say you hired a film crew with decent camera equipment to shoot the video. Then you cast a suitable voice actor to give your video voiceover personality. And then you sourced a talented video editor to put it all together and add some flashy graphics to the final cut. The end product is attractive, informative, and professional, except for one detail — the automated subtitles read like an 80’s Chinese movie.
Inconsistencies like these can mar the final product and hurt your brand image. It’s not wise to gamble on feckless automated programs when you can hire professional subtitle providers like those at Accredited Language who have more than 35 years of experience.
When your video uses professional subtitles you show that you pay attention to every detail — and that reflects directly on your business.
At the end of the day, it’s all about maintaining standards. Chances are, your video is representing something — a business, an organization, or a cause. Taking the easy way out and relying on inconsistent automated subtitle generators does them all a disservice.
For more information on how our subtitling services can help grow your business and improve your brand among viewers, contact us today.
Call us at 1-800-322-0284 or simply fill out our free quote form.