Transcription vs Captioning in details.

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Transcription and captioning are two essential services that help make audio and video content more accessible to a wider audience.


What is Transcription?

Transcription is the process of converting spoken words into written text. A transcriptionist listens to an audio or video file and types out everything that is said, including any background noise or other audio elements that may be present. Transcripts can be used for a variety of purposes, including research, legal proceedings, and closed captions.

What is captioning?

Captioning, on the other hand, involves adding text to a video that represents the spoken dialogue and any relevant audio information. Captions are typically used to provide accessibility for people who are deaf and or hard of hearing, as well as for people watching videos in noisy or quiet environments where it may be difficult to hear the audio.

While both transcription and captioning involve converting spoken words into written text, there are some key differences between the two processes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Accuracy: Both transcription and captioning require a high level of accuracy to ensure that the written text reflects what is being said in the audio or video file. However, captions require an even higher level of accuracy since they are intended to convey the spoken dialogue to viewers who cannot hear it.
  • Timing: Captions also require careful timing to ensure that the text appears on screen at the right moment. This involves syncing the text with the audio so that viewers can easily follow along with the dialogue. Transcripts, on the other hand, do not have the same timing considerations since they are typically used for reference rather than as a standalone viewing experience.
  • Formatting: Another key difference between transcription and captioning is the formatting of the final product. Transcripts are typically presented as a single block of text, while captions are broken up into smaller chunks that appear on screen in sync with the audio. Captions may also include additional formatting elements like speaker labels and sound effect descriptions to provide more context for viewers.

Types of transcription.

There are different types of transcription, each with its own requirements and conventions. Here are some common types of transcription:

  1. Verbatim Transcription: This type of transcription involves transcribing every word, utterance, and sound in the audio or video file, including filler words, hesitations, and false starts. Verbatim transcription is often used in legal or research settings where it is important to capture every detail of the spoken content.
  2. Edited Transcription: In contrast to verbatim transcription, edited transcription involves omitting filler words, false starts, and other non-essential content. This type of transcription is often used in media or business settings where readability and concision are important.
  3. Intelligent Verbatim Transcription: Also known as “clean verbatim,” this type of transcription involves omitting certain elements of the spoken content, such as filler words, but retaining the meaning and intent of the speaker. This type of transcription is often used in market research, focus groups, and other settings where it is important to capture the speaker’s thoughts and opinions accurately.
  4. Transcription with Timecode: Transcription with timecode involves adding time stamps or markers to the transcript to indicate when each segment of audio or video content occurs. This is useful for video editing and post-production purposes, as well as for closed captions or subtitles.
  5. Phonetic Transcription: Phonetic transcription involves using symbols to represent the sounds of spoken language, rather than writing out the words in a conventional spelling. This type of transcription is used primarily in linguistics and language teaching, and requires specialized training and expertise.

Types of captions.

There are different types of captions, each with its requirements and uses. However, here are some common types of captions:

  1. Open Captions: These captions are always displayed on the screen and cannot be turned off by the viewer. Available captions are commonly used in videos intended for social media or online platforms where the video is not expected to be broadcasted with a closed caption option.
  2. Closed Captions: Can be turned on or off by the viewer, providing an option for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing to understand the audio content. Closed captions can also be helpful for viewers in noisy environments or those who speak a different language. Closed captions are commonly used in TV broadcasts, films, and online videos.
  3. Live Captions: These captions are generated in real-time, typically by a stenographer or speech recognition software. Live captions are often used for live broadcasts, such as news or sports events, and in-person events, such as conferences or lectures.
  4. Post-Produced Captions: These captions are added to a pre-recorded video after it has been created, typically by a professional captioner. Post-produced captions are often used for films, documentaries, TV shows, and educational and training videos.
  5. Forced Narrative Captions: These captions are used to provide accessibility for viewers who are blind or visually impaired. Forced narrative captions describe the visual elements of a video, including character movements, facial expressions, and other important visual cues.

The type of transcription and caption used will depend on the audience or project’s specific needs and the conventions of the industry or field in which the video is being used.

Is it better to be a transcriptionist or captioner?

There is no definitive answer to whether being a transcriptionist or captioner is better, as both professions have unique challenges and opportunities. It ultimately depends on individual preferences, skills, and interests.

What is easier, transcribing or captioning?

In terms of ease, transcription and captioning require different skill sets, and what is more manageable for one person may be challenging for another. For example, transcription requires strong typing skills, a good ear for listening, and attention to detail. In contrast, captioning requires similar skills and the ability to time the captions correctly and convey audio information concisely and clearly.

What is transcription vs caption vs subtitles?

Transcription involves converting spoken words into written text, often used for research, legal proceedings, or closed captions. Captions are text that is added to a video to convey spoken dialogue and audio information for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Subtitles are similar to captions but are usually intended for viewers who can hear the audio but do not understand the language spoken.

What is the difference between transcript and captions accessibility?

The difference between transcript and caption accessibility is that transcripts are primarily used as a reference for individuals who want to read or search for specific information in the audio or video content. On the other hand, captions are intended to provide accessibility to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and cannot hear the audio. Captions can also be helpful for viewers in noisy environments, those who speak a different language, or those who have difficulty understanding spoken language.


Transcription and captioning can provide numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes. Here are some key ways that using transcription and captioning can help grow your business:

  1. Improve accessibility: Transcription and captioning can help make your content more accessible to individuals with hearing impairments, as well as those who may have difficulty understanding audio content. This can help you reach a wider audience and improve your overall brand reputation.

  2. Increase engagement: Adding captions to your videos can help improve viewer engagement, as captions can help keep viewers focused and improve retention. This can lead to increased engagement and better customer relationships.

  3. Improve SEO: Adding captions and transcripts to your content can help improve your search engine rankings, as search engines can crawl and index the text within captions and transcripts. This can help you reach a wider audience and increase your visibility online.

  4. Repurpose content: Transcripts and captions can be repurposed to create other types of content, such as blog posts, social media posts, and more. This can help you save time and resources on content creation.

  5. Comply with regulations: In some industries, such as education and government, there may be regulations that require content to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. By using transcription and captioning, you can ensure that you are compliant with these regulations.

  6. Improve accuracy: Transcription and captioning can help improve the accuracy of your content, as it allows you to review and edit the text before publishing. This can help you avoid errors and miscommunications and ensure that your message is conveyed effectively.


Transcription and captioning can also be used to generate an income, either as a side hustle or as a full-time career. Here are some ways that you can use transcription and captioning to make money:

  1. Freelance transcription: There are numerous freelance platforms where you can offer your transcription services to clients needing transcribing audio or video content. You can set your own rates and work on a flexible schedule, allowing you to earn extra income on the side.
  2. Captioning for video creators: Many video creators, such as YouTubers or social media influencers, require captions for their content to improve accessibility and engagement. You can offer your captioning services to these creators and charge per minute of video content.
  3. Captioning for businesses: Businesses may also require captioning services for their training videos, webinars, and other types of content. You can offer your services to these businesses and charge per hour or per project.
  4. Transcription and captioning software: If you have programming skills, you can create your own transcription or captioning software and sell it to businesses or individuals in need of these services.
  5. Teaching transcription and captioning: If you are skilled in transcription or captioning, you can offer your services as a teacher or tutor and provide online courses or one-on-one training to individuals looking to learn these skills.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Empowering Possibilties

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: