Subtitles – Who needs ’em?

Unless you have the physical need for subtitles or closed captions, you probably think they’re not for you.  Maybe you see them on a promo video on a train, or on the screens when you’re queuing at the bank. If you’re into accuracy (which I hope you are) it’s a fun game to watch whether any of the words are misspelt or indeed completely wrong! (Remind me to get a life). I imagine that person typing away in the back of the telly with some large headphones on, typing live as the words come through (hence the 2 second delay right….?) I’m glad you’re all with me!

Now let’s get back to reality and let the poor person get out of the telly to stretch their legs and get something to eat.
Subtitle services can be provided in two ways:
1. Automatic speech recognition (computer driven)
2. Through transcription (human brain driven)
Automatic Speech Recognition vs Transcription
Automatic Speech Recognition is commonly used on sites such as YouTube, and because it’s such a popular site used by everyone from professional businesses to every Tom, Dick and Harry making DIY home videos; there is a mountain of amusing subtitles to trip over as a result of automatic speech recognition being used.
This type of service offers a measly 60-70% accuracy level for its transcripts, which means you run the risk of having an incorrect word in almost every sentence. Sure, you say, the service is cheap, so you get what you pay for. And I guess that’s what the people learning about your business through subtitled video would think about you too…
Watching YouTube’s service is great for another fun game of “HaHA Did You See That Subtitle” but not so great if you’re trying to present yourself in a professional manner. To have control of how your brand is represented, you need a more accurate service and one that is flexible and reactionary to nuances in sound: accents, white noise, slang, multiple speakers, poor audio quality and mumblers! You’re selling your brand to people, people, and people need to be convinced to buy from YOU so it’s important that you don’t sound like a lemon.

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