What does the 1975 film Jaws have to do with SDH subtitles? Read on to find out…

The world of multimedia can be a little overwhelming to say the least. 

And, when you’re new to dealing with multimedia content, there seems to be a lot of confusing acronyms to get your head around. 

So, are you someone who doesn’t know their AD from their CC from their SDH? Fear not. Here at VoiceBox, we aim to help you navigate the world of multimedia and accessibility with our step-by-step blogs to answer all of your burning questions.

Whether you’re a production company looking for a new multimedia agency to partner with, an independent filmmaker delving into the world of subtitling and captioning for the first time, or a marketer wanting to supercharge their video-led content, you’ve come to the right place.

This week, we’ll tackle the question: “What does SDH subtitles mean?” Time to grab yourself a brew and settle in for our ultimate guide to SDH subtitles.

What does SDH subtitles mean?

Put simply, SDH subtitles are Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. 

You probably already know that subtitles are the process of displaying textual forms of aural content in videos. However, SDH subtitles are a type of subtitles specifically designed for those who cannot – or have trouble with – hearing the audio of a piece of content.

The text in typically runs along the bottom of the video screen. SDH subtitles will always display dialogue, usually indicating the different speakers’ names, as well as describing any other aural content or sounds.

What is the difference between SDH and CC?

CC, or Closed Captions, are subtitles that can be turned on and off. They tend to be offered in multiple languages, and usually only translate dialogue.

The difference between SDH subtitles and Closed Captions is that while Closed Captions assume viewers can hear audio and sounds, SDH subtitles are designed for viewers who can’t.

Need an example? Just imagine the iconic 1975 film Jaws.

While Closed Captions might only display the dialogue of someone shouting “SHARK!”, SDH subtitles are likely to include crucial sounds and aural details that are important to the plot like, “[Foreboding violin theme playing]” or “[Children screaming]”

I think we can all agree that the sinister Jaws theme music is one of the most memorable parts of the film, meaning it’s all the more important to describe it for those who cannot hear it.

Why are SDH subtitles used?

Now we’ve tackled “What does SDH subtitles mean?”, let’s discuss their usage. SDH subtitles are important because everyone should be able to consume, fully understand and enjoy video content.

According to Hearing Link, a UK-based charity, it is estimated that approximately 11 million people in the UK are deaf or hard of hearing. This makes it the second most common disability in the UK. What’s more, 1 in 6 of the UK adult population is affected by hearing loss and 8 million of these are aged 60 and over.

Meanwhile, worldwide, an estimated 466 million people – 5% of the population – have disabling hearing loss, and this number is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. 

So whether you’re disseminating an informational video, a video-led advert for a small business on social media or an indie film due to be launched in cinemas, deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers are sure to make up a significant portion of your potential audience.

Not only are SDH subtitles important for ensuring that vital public information gets widely disseminated, but they also ensure that those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing can equally enjoy entertainment content. 

These days, SDH subtitles are ever-more crucial for ensuring your content is accessible, inclusive and wide-reaching.

What does the law say about SDH subtitles?

Not only is it good practise to ensure that you provide SDH subtitles for your content, but in some cases, they could be necessary to comply with the law. 

Under the UK’s Equality Act 2010, which protects people against discrimintation, organisations and service providers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure equal access for anybody with a protected characteristic or disability listed within the Act. It is a requirement that those with a disability, which includes those who are deaf, are treated ‘favourably and without bias’. 

It is important to find out whether you need to provide SDH subtitles in order to comply with this legislation. If you’re not sure, it’s safest and more inclusive to provide them anyway. Or, you can always get in touch with us for advice.

How do I get SDH subtitles?

There are many companies out there that offer SDH subtitles, but we believe that we offer the best possible service.

At VoiceBox, we offer our clients SDH subtitles for a wide range of platforms, and we aim to make it as straightforward as possible to get started. We will strive to work collaboratively with you on your SDH subtitling project and achieve results.

Simply give us a call or fill in our quote form for a free quote. Then, provide us with the video content you need us to transcribe (or even translate if you are looking for SDH subtitles in a foreign language). If you have the script already, then this could speed up the process.

Next, the script is uploaded onto subtitling software, where our talented subtitlers edit the content, insert time codes and sync the audio to the on-screen text. We always re-watch the video multiple times to proofread the captions, checking especially for spelling, grammar and accurate timing. Finally, you sign off on the project when you’re 100% pleased with the result.

Why not tell us about your project and allow us to advise you directly?

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VoiceBox Blog Team