Multimedia Captioning Vs. Transcription: Which Is Better?

Multimedia Captioning When you have audio and video files on your website, it’s a good idea to consider adding captions or transcripts to your site. Transcripts and captions can make your multimedia file more accessible to those with hearing impairments, and it can also improve your SEO. Since search engines cannot access the content in the actual video, providing a caption or transcription gives the search engine a chance to locate keywords and use those keywords to better rank your site.

When it comes to deciding between multimedia captioning and transcriptions, many companies are unsure which one to choose. They both seem to do the same thing, so many people think that it doesn’t matter, but in reality, it does. In order to determine if captioning or transcription is better for your multimedia file, you’ll have to determine what type of video you have.

When Captioning is Better

Adding captions to your video can be extremely beneficial to your video’s success. In most cases, captioning would be best suited for “how to” videos. This way, the individual watching your video can see a physical example of what you’re telling them to do as well as read (and pause) the instructions. This is especially great for cooking, DIY and other instructional videos.

Captioning is also better if you want to attract an audience that may have hearing impairments. For example, if you are providing an entertaining video, the captions will allow the individual to watch the video and know what’s going on. They’ll still be able to see actions, such as hand gestures or facial expressions, and they’ll still understand who is talking and what they’re saying in order to comprehend and enjoy the video.

When Transcriptions are Better

Transcriptions are best suited for videos that don’t require the user to physically see the video. For example, if you are providing a video of a panel discussion or a board meeting, there’s no value in the viewer being able to see a bunch of talking heads. Instead, providing a clear-cut transcription of each speaker will be a better option.

Transcriptions are also a great option if you want to produce content for an audio file. For example, if you wanted to provide content from a podcast, a transcription would be the best option. The transcription would denote each speaker and what they said, and it would allow your audience to have an understanding of the podcast without having to actually hear it.

Some people opt to use captions because they think they’re easier to produce than transcripts, but this isn’t always the case. Nobody said that you had to transcribe your audio or video files by yourself. Instead, you can hire an online transcription company to provide you with a professional and accurate transcription of your video or audio file. This way, you will not need to waste your own time transcribing content, and instead can have a professional transcription sent directly to you in a matter of days. Then, simply pop the transcription directly on your site, and enjoy reaping the benefits.

Meyling Lau is a partner at and has lead enterprise scale SEO programs. Formerly, Mey led a variety of grassroots marketing projects for