Whether you’re working on a sitcom, an indie film, or a simple YouTube video, you should consider having your videos professionally captioned. Although open and closed captions were initially intended for the hearing impaired, in the years since the use of captions has become more widespread.

For example, you’ll often see closed captioning used in places with a lot of background noise, such as health clubs, bars and waiting rooms. Some people even leave the captioning turned on at home so they don’t miss any important dialogue.

There are plenty of companies out there that will add captioning to your videos for a fee. But are all video captioning services created equal? Read on to find out what you should be looking for in a captioning service.

Knowledge and Experience

Before you settle on a company to caption your video, you’ll want to make sure that they have the knowledge and experience to complete the job well. You can often glean this information by browsing their website and reading reviews from past clients.

Do they offer both pop-on and roll-up captioning? Do they also offer a video description service? Whatever your needs, it’s important to find a company that can accommodate them.

Another thing you should consider when evaluating companies is their level of experience. Do they have an impressive client list, or have they primarily worked on low-budget web videos? Ideally, you’ll want to choose an established company with a good track record (budget permitting, of course).

Turnaround Time

If you have months and months to complete a project, turnaround time will be less of a factor. However, if you need the work done as soon as possible, make sure the company you choose can accommodate your needs. If you’re leery about this, it can be helpful to read client testimonials and reviews; this will help you determine if the company has a track record of completing projects on time.

Quality Control

There’s nothing more important than quality control. When you’re researching companies, pay special attention to their procedure, from start to finish. Is the transcription work outsourced? How about the editing? Are there rigorous quality checks? If possible, try to find a company that does the bulk of their work, from transcription to encoding, in-house; this usually leads to better oversight and quality control.

Before you decide on a company, be sure you know what to look for in a video captioning service. Quality control, turnaround time, and experience are all factors you should consider when making your decision. Remember, don’t limit yourself to the first company you see; do a little research and find the captioning service that best fits your needs.

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