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Over the years we have noticed a steady increase in the amount of video content being published. This reveals the ever-rising number of viewers that are inclined to consume video content rather than written blogs. 

In fact, YouTube has an average of 122 million daily users, and slightly over 1 billion hours’ worth of videos being watched daily. 

If you are anything like me, sometimes I am in a public place watching videos but I can’t hear every detail. 

Enter captions. 

This has been a great tool for businesses to spread their content to hard-of-hearing clients as well as an international market. 

Here is a list of the best closed captioning service providers that I have come across recently.

What is the Best Closed Captioning Service?

1. GoTranscript

Best All-Round Captioning Service ($1.11/Min).

GoTranscript is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in closed captioning services to hit the market. They have worked with big-league organizations such as Netflix, BBC, and Bose, to name a few. 

They offer their services to businesses of all sizes. Widely recognized for providing cost-effective and efficient services, they provide captioning and transcription in over 40 languages to accommodate a wider audience. 

Their client satisfaction rate sits at an impressive 98%. Some industries that they provide transcription and captioning services to are; webinars, training, medical, legal, and academic lectures.  

Key Features:

  • Support: Their specialists are available around-the-clock to assist you, regardless of your industry. From medical to academic, they have you covered.
  • Interface: No need to be a tech guru to use GoTranscript. Their simple user interface makes it easy for anyone to use it.
  • Human Transcribers: They have a global team of over 20,000 linguistics who are native speakers, guaranteeing you a high accuracy level. Most of their captions are done by humans with a 99% accuracy rate.
  • Company Growth: Since it launched, they have served over 10,000 clients and continue growing and providing quality caption services. Their staff team is made up of over 20,000 skilled and certified transcribers, customer support specialists, and proofreaders. 

Pricing:

It only takes a few simple steps to get your order in with them. They are quite meticulous when it comes to clients’ security and have SSL encryption and NDA protection. 

An account executive partnered with a dedicated transcription specialist come standard with every new client, along with a customer support team that is available 24/7. 


2. Rev 

Best for Short Turnaround Time. ($1.50/Minute)

Rev launched in 2010 and has been providing accurate closed caption services since then. They boast of TAT (turnaround times) of between 2 – 25 hours, and over 100 different languages. 

Whether you need captions for speeches, corporate calls, podcasts, interviews, or academic lectures, Rev has a team of skilled transcribers to manage your needs.

Not only recognized for their cutting-edge human-powered services, but they also have automated speech-to-text services that are unmatched. 

They have served over 750,000 clients and come highly recommended by these happy clients. I can bet their intuitive user interface has an impact on user satisfaction because it is so easy to use.  

Key Features:

  • Separate Filing: Your video captions have separate files for each of the different languages that they are translated into.
  • AI and STT: Their quick turnaround times can be credited to their advanced artificial intelligence tools and their vast speech-to-text freelancer team.
  • Professional Staff: Rev has grown its captioning professionals and independent contractors to over 50,000 staff since their start-up. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”  
  • Caption Styling: Feel free to adjust the font size, font color, and text font, as well as customize them for Instagram, Facebook, and more. 

Pricing:

If you’re unsure about committing to their services, they offer new customers a free 5-minute trial. There is an option at checkout whereby you can choose if you would like the captions permanently “burned in” to your videos, for an additional $0.25 per minute, which may turn out costly if you have long videos.


3. 3 Play Media 

Best for Long-Term Solutions. ($2.50/Minute)

As many as 2,500 clients worldwide have come to trust and enjoy the services of 3Play Media. They accommodate businesses in different industries from entertainment, fitness, media, education, and government sectors. It gives them an opportunity to manage their podcasts, track their audience’s engagement, or enhance SEO. 

3Play Media delivers affordable, accurate captions through ARS (Automated Speech Recognition) which is powered by AI, and reviewed by humans. The human transcribers work round the clock to make sure you get 99% accurate captions. In fact, your videos go through two cycles of quality control to make sure of the high standards.  

Key Features:

  • Language Variants: They serve an international market and provide closed captions in over 150 languages. 
  • Vimeo Captions: I can’t think of another closed captioning service provider that provides transcripts for videos that are hosted on Vimeo. 
  • File Formats: Your caption files can be downloaded in over 50 formats once they have been completed, and they’re compatible with most, if not all, video-playing devices and integrated platforms. 
  • High-Quality: With a combination of two-step transcription and artificial intelligence, 3Play Media creates exceptional captions They even match each user with a dedicated manager to make sure deadlines are met and support is offered throughout the process.

Pricing:

3Play Media Express plan accepts videos of any length, with no minimum amount required, unlike their Enterprise and Pro plans. Have a chat with their customer support team if you need to discuss your pricing plan further.

1. Express: $2.95 per minute

  • Pay-as-you-go plan
  • Turnaround time options from 2 hours to 10 business days

2. Pro: $100 per month

  • Plans are paid upfront annually or monthly
  • Full access to technical support

3. Enterprise: $2.50 per minute

  • Dedicated account manager and technical support
  • Ideal for companies needing long-term solutions 


4. Vitac 

Best for Live Captioning. (Request a Quote)

Vitac highly regards the human element in their caption-creating process. They have a big team of trained and tested captioners who are reviewed every so often to ensure professionalism and reliability. Their biggest clients are in the broadcasting industry. They have secured exclusive agreements with various local news networks like BBC America and major TV networks like Animal Planet and Telemundo. Vitac provides top-quality captioning services for live TV, live conferences, and streaming web videos as part of their service plans. 

Some of the other industries that Vitac services include: media and entertainment, government, education, live events, web conferencing, professional sports, corporate training, and much more. They provide captions for local, regional, and international clients.  

Key Features:

  • Multi-Language: Because they serve an international market, they offer captions in different languages to meet their clients’ target audience.
  • Meeting Platforms: In today’s global market, virtual meetings are common, that’s why Vitac meets the need by providing captioning for different meeting platforms, both live and pre-recorded.
  • Offline Captioning: Vitac meets the FCC offline-captioning prerequisites and provides pop-up, roll-up, and pop-on captions for offline video, similar to Facebook and Twitter’s offerings.
  • 24/7 Support: Their highly skilled and experienced team is available round-the-clock to meet your deadlines and provide competent customer support. 

Pricing:

You may not see their pricing plans on the internet, instead, their website encourages you to get in touch with their consultants and discuss a custom plan which depends on your needs, such as the quantity of work, duration of videos, caption style, and turnaround time. 

Creating an account with Vitac is free and simple, just add in a few requirements on their form and you’re halfway there. 


5. Scribie

Best for Pay-As-You-Go Rates. ($0.80/Minute)

Scribie makes it super easy for anyone to order caption files in three steps. Their goal has been to provide quality, consistently. Your transcribed files can be downloaded and opened in either Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, OpenDocument Tex, or plain text, ensuring that files are accessed by any user. 

Both human transcribers and automatic transcription are offered by Scribie, and free reviews in the event you are unsatisfied after their delivery. Proofreading and delivery usually take 1 business day to complete. Some of the other features/add-ons they offer include audio time coding and strict verbatim transcripts.  

Key Features:

  • Accuracy: You are guaranteed a 99% accuracy rate because they use a four-step transcription process that delivers 99% accuracy consistently. 
  • Live Monitoring: Scribie allows you to check and monitor the progress of your transcripts or download drafts as they are being worked on. 
  • High Quality: You can expect nothing less than well-researched, high-quality content, delivered in time. Their team researches acronyms and contextual information to ensure quality work.
  • Time Stamped: If there are sections of your video/audio that are incomprehensible, they will be left blank, and timestamp will be added, and sent back to you so you can cross-check it with your video/audio file. 

Pricing:

Scribie has both manual and automated options, with either pay-as-you-go or monthly subscriptions. They require advance payments before they begin working on your video/audio file. 

An additional charge is added for foreign accents, distant speakers, poor audio quality, distortions, or high background noise. They also offer a free trial as well as a full refund if you cancel before 60% completion.

1. Pay-As-You-Go: $0.80 per minute

  • 24-hour turnaround time
  • $0.10 per minute if automated, delivery in 30 minutes

2. Pro: $0.76 per minute

  • $9/month subscription
  • Delivery in 12-24 hours if manual or 30-minutes if automated. 


6. Captioning Star

Best for Accurate Captions. ($2/Month)

Captioning Star goes beyond a simple captioning service and thinks out the box to create applications and technologies to enhance user experience and provide five-star service. Upload your video or audio files from different platforms such as Vimeo, Dropbox, or YouTube. 

Some of their services include: real-time captioning, and broadcasting real-time captioning for news stations. At Captioning Star their mantra is to aim for the stars. Having served over 10,000 clients and transcribed over 50,000 hours as well as over 2,500 live events, they sure are aiming for the stars.   

Key Features:

  • High Standards: All their content meets the high standards of ADA and FCC to bring quality to a broad audience. 
  • Staff Support: Tech support is available 24/7 to answer your questions with a response within 15 minutes of contacting them. They work round-the-clock to complete your tasks on time while maintaining 99% accuracy. 
  • Languages: Captioning Star provides closed captions to a wide audience with over 50 languages supported. You can request your desired file format, style, or template. 
  • Chat Platforms: If you want to get in touch with their support team, they are available on various platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Very convenient. 

Pricing:

One of the few captioning service providers who have no minimum upload bottlenecks. They are ready to receive any volume of files although they have attractive discounts for bulk volumes. Another enticing feature is that they do not charge additional fees for poor-quality audio/video files, or for express orders. 

Their pricing is simple and transparent: $1 for transcription, $2 for captioning, or $2.75 for transcription and captioning. Alternatively, you can send them a quote request for more info.  


7. Caption Access

Best for Online and Offline Captioning. (Request a Quote)

If you need speed, affordability, user-friendliness, and accuracy, then Caption Access should be your service of choice. As part of their staff, they have skilled hearing-impaired editors, bringing a more personalized experience and accuracy for all non-audio viewing. They understand the needs of deaf communities and how they connect with live captions.

They boast of fast turnaround times of between 1-4 hours because their remote team works around the clock. Some of their outstanding features include captioning for live events, meetings, webinars, and conferences.   

Key Features:

  • CART: This means Communication Access Realtime Translation, a tool that converts speech to comprehensible text. Users won’t need to switch between devices during conferences, academic lectures, or webinars. 
  • Submitting Orders: Users are advised to contact the platform directly when they are placing orders. You can send your video/audio files from your cloud-based application or any device. 
  • File Distribution: Once you’ve received your finalized video files, you can distribute them as you wish, for example, via your website or social media pages.
  • File Formats: Caption Access can produce captioning in various file formats such as SMPTE-TT, CEA, WebVTT, SCC, DFXP, and STL.

Pricing:

For information on their pricing plans, they invite you to send through your specific requests and needs, and they will respond with a detailed quote. They also offer free trials if you would like to try them out before committing.


8. Archive Captioning

Best for Remote Captioning. (Request a Quote)

Archive Captioning is known for its professional live captioning for the remote world. They provide cost-effective services for live streams, virtual conferences, webinars, and virtual meetings. You can expect a same-day delivery on your video/audio orders and a committed support team available at your request, any time of the day, or any time during your order process. 

Their team of transcribers is well-trained and conducts multi-level quality checks before your content is delivered to you. Industries take advantage of this feature to make sure they are sharing only the best captions with their stakeholders, communities, clients, and employees.  

Key Features:

  • Caption Integrations: ARC offers clients multiple caption integrations for your meetings or virtual conferences such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, or Adobe Connect. 
  • Text Viewing: Your returned files can be viewed on a variety of screens such as tablets, TVs, mobile devices, laptops, or anything with an internet connection. 
  • Platform Compatibility: ARC’s live captions work well with Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitch, and UStream. 
  • Staffing: They have a staffing team of over 100 skilled and experienced US workers who have been trained to provide superior accuracy and technical support.

Pricing:

Archive Captioning offers a 10% discount on orders of 20 hours or more. Simply fill out their online web form with the necessary details and request a quote for your captioning needs. ARC claims to increase your viewer’s engagement because of their quality captioning. 


9.  Automatic Sync 

Best for Value Pricing. (Request a Quote)

AST has been doing a great job at providing accurate captioning services for over 15 years, to over 5,000 clients and over 5 million files. They are cost-efficient and always produce high-quality closed captions that enhance audience engagement. Your captions can be ready within minutes, provided your video/audio is clear. Other turnaround times are from 8 hours, 1-day, 2-days, 3-days, or 4-days. 

The skilled team at AST works hard to understand their clients better and is always updating their tools and systems so that clients receive the highest grade service. Their cutting-edge technology automation technology is balanced with experienced professionals to provide the best captioning.   

Key Features:

  • US Staff: Their team of skilled staff is US based and produces five-star results while keeping your files secure and confidential. 
  • Compliance: AST has over 17 years of experience and is ADA-compliant. They are experts in their fields and know how to meet your technical needs. 
  • Value: Make the most of their free tools like Smart Player which influences searchable and interactive transcripts. Their cost-saving feature allows you to download multiple captioning files for free. 
  • Account Setup: Have your account set up and ready to use within minutes. Simply fill in the website online form and you could have your captions completed by the end of the day.

Pricing:

There is no additional charge for difficult video/audio clips, multiple speakers, or poor quality. They are very considerate and offer discounts for academic institutions and government entities. If you have a bulk order, you qualify for a discount as well. 

Their pricing plans are not displayed on their website but you can simply fill out the form and describe your needs and they will respond with a detailed quote on how they will meet these needs. 


10. Closed Caption Creator 

Best for Automatic Captioning. ($25.00/Month)

Closed Captioning Creators was designed with creators in mind. It allows them to create closed captions and transcripts for videos and audio files. Their all-in-one solution gives you the freedom to create and edit captions and subtitles in any format of your choice. 

Some industries that they serve include broadcasting, marketing, journalism, Performing arts, and education. CC Creators are spot on with their customer support and upload free training videos and resources monthly, so keep an eye on their website if you need help.   

Key Features:

  • Automatic Translation: Their smart software automatically detects and translates your captions and subtitles to over 100 languages. 
  • File Support: With over 25 different file formats for your subtitles and captions, you are well supported. 
  • Restrictions: CC Creators have no storage restrictions or file size restrictions. 
  • Live Support: They have a trained team that is available 24/7 to provide you with live chat support or email support if you’re shy to have a live chat. 

Pricing:

CC Creators offer a free 7-day trial for all their packages, with no commitments required. Their affordable pricing has many clients returning. You can easily upgrade your plan or cancel at any time. A customer support team s waiting to assist if you have questions about their pricing.  

  1. Starter: $25 per month
  • Cross-platform support  Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome)
  • Automatic subtitles up to 300 minutes per month
  1. Pro: $50 per month
  • Supports up to 3 team members
  • Subtitle file export
  1. Enterprise: $120 per month
  • Up to 1200 minutes per month
  • Supports 5 team members 


What is a Closed Captioning Service?

It has been loosely said that viewers are almost ten times more likely to be engaged and share or comment on video content as compared to non-video content. Businesses, schools, and universities have caught on to this and use videos to grab attention, keep their viewers engaged, and enhance the overall viewing experience. 

Another excerpt, it says that the number of deaf and hard-hearing people is increasing globally. So how do we cater to these viewers and compliment their video viewing? With well-written captions.

Simply said, closed captions are text files that are created, combined, and then synced with a video, basically translating the media’s audio with a textual representation. Additionally, closed captions include certain non-verbal elements such as sound effects, allowing heard-hearing viewers to get the full experience of the video. 

Imagine being in a noisy environment, like a busy restaurant, or a quiet library, the TV is playing something interesting and you cannot hear it clearly. That’s when closed captions become essential. Suppose you like watching videos that are spoken in a foreign language, closed captions can be translated into your native language and you are able to continue enjoying the video. 

A skillful closed captioning service understands the importance of getting your video message out and creates captions and places them usually near the bottom of the video. They realize that the technology era is ever-changing and having video captions is essential for businesses who want to gain more viewers and extend their target market.     

Types of Closed Captioning Services

Closed captioning, displayed as CC, adds captions to videos such as YouTube videos, TV programs, or video games, and can generally be turned on and off. Companies take pride in that their captions are written by humans, while other times they are automated. 

Captions written by humans are considered more accurate, with up to 99% accuracy rates, and many clients prefer humans over automated because they understand the intricacy of a language. ARS software (Automatic Speech Recognition) makes use of speech-to-text technology in producing transcripts from audio source files.

Let’s also remember the small difference between captions and subtitles. Subtitles translate a video into a language you understand, whereas captions are mainly for viewers who are hard at hearing and it includes sound effects so they get the full grasp of the video.

Open and closed captions refer to how captions appear, what information is provided, and how they are accessed. Closed captions mean that you have the choice to switch the captions on or off anytime. YouTube and Vimeo prefer using closed caption services. Open captions mean you cannot turn off the captions and they are part and parcel of the video. Rev prefers using this type of service.  

We may see captions presented in different ways such as pop-on, roll-up, or paint-on. Pop-ups are probably the most common and are one to two lines that appear on the screen for a few seconds before disappearing. 

With roll-up captions, you usually see three lines, the top line then disappears as a new bottom line appears. Finally, with paint-on captions, individual words appear on the screen from left to right, quite similar to roll-up captions. 

What Features to Look For in a Closed Captioning Service

Thinking of ways to expand your audience reach? Adding captions to your movies, TV shows, or social media videos could get you through to the 50 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Americans, or the audience that views your content in places such as a library or public transport, where they may not be able to hear the audio clearly. Give them the chance to enjoy your videos by adding captions.

Since it is quite beneficial  to have captions, there are some important features that your closed captioning services should have in order to optimize, and here are just a few of those features to look for:

1.  Accuracy: Competing service providers aim for 99% accuracy rates, this means less than 15 errors per 1,500 words or 1% leniency. As a result of low accuracy, your SEO rankings drop. Imagine your content having incorrect people, places, products, or URLs? Your content will be unsearchable. 

2. Difficult Content: Having the ability to transcribe difficult content while maintaining a high accuracy rate is vital, especially for universities and colleges. What is more, industries like law, medicine, philosophy, or physics have specific terminology that is critical to viewers’ comprehension.

3. Turnaround Time: When you have deadlines, you want a captioning service provider that can meet these time constraints. Some vendors have multiple turnaround options and knowing these may help you plan your projects more effectively. Money-saving tip: some will offer you a discount for an extended turnaround time. 

4. Workflow: It makes life easier when you find a service provider who has a clear workflow. They will communicate when your captions are ready, pitch different upload methods, and offer storage for your caption files.  

Closed Captioning Service Summary & Top Picks

Getting captions for your video content will enhance the viewer’s experience and help you reach a new audience. The main items to think about are having open or closed captions, as well as the method by which they are displayed on the screen. 

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states that we should not discriminate against deaf or hard-of-hearing people and give them a fair opportunity to enjoy video content. Thus the importance of captions.

From a business perspective, having closed captions on your video content will increase your reach. Now tons of people can watch your video at gyms, restaurants, shops, schools, theatres, libraries, and public transport. You could take it a step further and have your captions translated to a different language so that your content goes global.

From all the closed captioning service providers we have gone through above, here are my top picks:

  • GoTranscript: Best All-Round Captioning Service ($1.11/Min).
  • Rev: Best for Short Turnaround Time ($1.50/Minute).
  • 3 Play Media: Best for Long-Term Solutions ($2.50/Minute).

I hope this has been an eye-opener to the world of closed captioning services and the features to look for, and others to stay clear from. At the end of the day, you get more benefits from captioning services than from not having captions.

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