Captions versus Subtitles

Providing a text alternative for media on websites

Updated over a week ago

Subtitles are a way for providing translation from one language to another for content on your website. 

Captions are the method for providing a text alternative for visitors who have hearing issues or simply are not using technology that plays sound.

Captions provide dialogue, who is speaking, and non-speech information conveyed through sound, including meaningful sound effects.

When providing caption to an audio file, it is important to specify that the attribute kind="captions". The following is a sample of captions being provided to an audio element.

    <source src="myAudioFile.mp3" type="audio/mp3">  
    <track src="myAudioCaptions.vtt" kind="captions" srclang="en" label="english_captions">  

Note: Be sure that a .vtt corresponding file exists for the audio file and that you are providing the correct path to that file on the website. If you do not have a captions file for your audio, it is advisable to provide a transcript. A transcript can always be utilized to later create a captions file.

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