2017 was named as a breakthrough year for deaf actors and sign language in film with mainstream films like Baby Driver, The Shape of Water and The Silent Child all featuring deaf characters. 2018 horror hit, A Quiet Place, also features the deaf actress Millicent Simmons and uses sign language and subtitling to communicate without making a sound.
The trend toward sign language and subtitling in film indicates that Hollywood is responding to a demand for greater diversity and accessibility in mainstream media. But accessibility is not a trend that’s just limited to film, it also extends to television, streaming services and social media.
Video content not maximising its reach
Oscar-winning short, The Silent Child, brought the issue of accessibility to the Hollywood stage with the Oscar winner even signing her acceptance speech.
Although many television stations and cinemas provide showings with American Sign Language (ASL) and Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing (SDH).
What’s more, many media providers do not make their content accessible to the deaf community.
Back in 2011, Netflix infamously found out that alienating their hard of hearing audience was a big mistake. The National Association of the Deaf sued Netflix for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Accessibility is also a concern on social media. In August 2015, Manchester United came under scrutiny for failing to subtitle any of their Twitter videos.
Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
SDH subtitles is a common way that the mainstream media make movies and videos accessible in a cost-effective way. SDH subtitles are subtitles which are specifically produced specifically for the deaf and hard of hearing community. SDH subtitles includes identifying background noises and colour attribution to identify which characters are speaking.
With 5% of the world’s population (360 million) identifying as deaf or hard of hearing, SDH subtitles can help you access a niche audience as well as increasing your commitment to social responsibility.
Get everyone involved with subs
Subtitles are not only for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Subtitles are also used by a wider audience to enjoy foreign productions and better understand the meaning of video content.
Increase access and visibility with closed captions
Closed captions are commonly used in broadcast television and on DVDs/Blu-rays. They are also used on video sharing sites such as YouTube and streaming services like Netflix. Closed captions are, in layman’s terms, captions that can be turned on and off.
Closed captions gives viewers the options to watch media with or without subtitles. They can also be used in combination with SDH subtitles and translation to make media accessible to the deaf community and international audiences.
In recent years, closed captions have been praised by marketing and production agencies for their video SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits. As advanced as search engines such as Google are at indexing content, they’re still unable to effectively ‘listen’ to video and audio content.
That’s where Closed Captions come in. They allow the spoken word of video content to be ‘read’ by search engines and boost the video’s SEO.
This means that your content will be more visible which increases views and engagement.
Get social and increase sales with Open Captions
Open Captions are a great choice for video producers who envision that their video’s audio content will be muted by default i.e. auto-play social media videos. Open captions are essentially subtitles which are always on or ‘burned in’ to the video content.
With 55% of Internet users watching digital video content every day, the popularity of online video continues to rise. What’s more, social media video content is growing at an exponential rate with over 8 billion video views every day on Facebook alone.
With all videos on Facebook being muted by default, and over 80% of social media videos being watched with the volume off, seizing users’ engagement is a challenge for video publishers. However, fear not! Adding open caption subtitles to social media videos can increase video views by 12%.
What’s more, HubSpot have reported that consumers are 65% more likely to purchase a product after watching a video, the added optimisation and engagement from open captions is a paradigm shift for video publishers to get more engagement, more view and, ultimately, more sales.
Go global with subtitle translation
In a crowded marketplace, subtitle translation should not be overlooked. Advances in technology means that content can be translated into almost any language. Translating your content can help you to overcome language barriers and reach any audience in the world.
Thanks to the rise in the popularity of digital channels and streaming services, content owners are seeing more opportunities than ever to sell new titles and back catalogue feature films and TV series in new territories.
This has led to a growing demand for content localisation particularly across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to the tune of $2 billion in 2016. What’s more, this is set to grow by 8 to 10 percent, reaching $2.5 billion annual spend before 2020.
Multilingual translation is also an essential tool for international advertising.
As multinational brands and companies will testify, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to buy products and services that are marked to them in their own language and video content is no exception!
A 2014 study by the Common Sense Advisory found that 75% of customers prefer to buy in their native language.
The study also found that 56% of customers either spend more time on sites in their own language than they do in English, or boycott English-language URLs altogether.
With these facts in mind, it’s clear that translating video content, through subtitling, can help you to reach international audiences.
The recent trend of accessibility in film has highlighted the advantage of making content accessible to a wider audience. Subtitling is an innovative way of accessing new audiences and increasing engagement all while being socially responsible.
It’s a no brainer!
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