Blog chevron right Subtitles

SDH Subtitles: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Matthew Patel
Matthew Patel
Posted in Zoom Mar 26 · 26 Mar, 2022
SDH Subtitles: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Video content consumption has been increasing ever since the smartphone boom and the expansion of social networks. More importantly, it shows no signs of slowing down. People all over the world are consuming more video content than ever. A good video doesn't just need a great idea, clear picture, and crisp sound. With so much competition, you need to ensure your video content reaches the right audience.

Everything You Need to Know About SDH Subtitles

Including subtitles in your video is a great way to make your video more accessible. Subtitles make it easier for people to follow the dialogue in the video even if they don't understand the language that well. Subtitles also make things easier for people with hearing impairments to enjoy your content. Since they can't hear the audio component, they can read the subtitles to understand the content better and follow along.

What Does SDH Mean in Subtitles?

Most people think captions and subtitles are the same thing. Both are synchronized with the video so the audience sees them as the words are being spoken, and you can turn both captions and subtitles on and off as needed. That's where the similarities end, though.

Subtitles are a word-for-word transcription or translation of every spoken word in the video. They are created with the assumption that the audience can hear, but either doesn't understand the spoken language or has muted the video for whatever reason. It's important to note that subtitles don't contain any non-speech sound events like laughter, applause, yelling, etc. Because of this characteristic, subtitles aren't appropriate for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.

On the other hand, closed captions (or CC) are made with the assumption that the viewer can't hear the audio. In most cases, they use the same language as the video, and they're generally made for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. Unlike subtitles, captions include all audible information like music, applause, slamming doors, and other sound events. They can also include speaker labels if necessary. The text is always white with a black background and can be placed anywhere on the screen.

By now, you're probably thinking, "What about SDH, what does it mean?" It's simple - SDH is short for Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They're a hybrid of closed captions and subtitles developed explicitly for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

This variant of subtitles provides a transcription in the same language as the original content with extra text to mark the environmental sound events, music, etc. SDH subtitles also provide better comprehension for people who can't understand the dialogue or have a hard time keeping up with the accents used.

Finally, the encoding, placement, and overall appearance of SDH subtitles differ from standard subtitles and closed captions. They're available in different font styles, sizes, and colors, just like regular subtitles. However, they usually appear in the bottom third of the screen. This subtitle variant also supports more media types, including online content and Blu-ray discs. Unlike their counterparts, SDH subtitles can be encoded through HDMI.

Why Should You Include SDH Subtitles in Your Videos?

Now that we covered the crucial differences between subtitles, SDH subtitles, and closed captions, let's go over a few key reasons why including SDH subtitles in your video content is a good idea.

  • Better reach and increased viewership

The number one reason to include SDH subtitles in your content is to make sure as many people as possible can access it. According to the World Health Organization, almost 20% of the world's population (over 1.5 billion people) live with hearing loss. This type of subtitling also offers a great way for ESL speakers to engage with your videos.

  • Improved comprehension

SDH subtitles can also help the viewers understand speakers who talk fast or have thick accents. They're more effective at keeping viewers with attention deficit disorders focused on the video. Finally, SDH subtitles are a lot more beneficial for people who have the audio muted for whatever reason. Thanks to the non-verbal and ambiance sound events, they no longer really need the audio.

  • Compliance

Companies and institutions that fail to ensure their video content is accessible may find themselves in court, at least in the US. One of the most notable cases from recent years involved the NAD (National Association of the Deaf) and former President Donald Trump. In 2020, the NAD filed a lawsuit against the President for failing to provide sign language interpreters for the televised COVID briefings.

Only a month later, the federal court ordered the White House to start providing ASL interpreters for all briefings. The NAD was pleased with the statement, emphasizing that deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens have the right to know what's being said at these briefings, just like everyone else. By incorporating SDH subtitles in your content, you can ensure you avoid similar lawsuits.

  • Higher exposure on social networks

Social media users watch over 85% of videos without enabling sound. Including subtitles in your videos will capture people's attention and help them get your message even if they never play the audio. In fact, a recent study showed a 40% increase in views for captioned videos. More importantly, 80% of viewers will watch a video to the end if subtitles are available.

  • SEO benefits

Google and other search engines simply can't analyze videos adequately. When you upload this kind of content, they only scan the title and the description for any keywords. Since subtitles are basically a textual transcript of your video, they provide search engines with a lot more data to work with, which ultimately brings more traffic to your content.

How to Add SDH Subtitles to Your Videos

If you're considering including SDH subtitles in your videos, you should make sure to select the appropriate format for the platform you intend to use. You can start by transcribing the dialogue and adding other elements like speaker labels, music, and other non-verbal events.

Producing your own SDH subtitles is by far the cheapest option. However, if you don't have any prior experience, the process can be incredibly time-consuming. You'll definitely save some money this way, but you'll lose valuable time getting familiar with the intricacies of the format, including all the elements, and ensuring it's perfectly synced with your video content.

The amount of time necessary to produce accurate captions mostly depends on video length. If you have a couple of hours of video to go through, producing accurate subtitles could take weeks. You may want to use an automated service to do the job for you, but these solutions are still wildly inaccurate. If the audio contains heavy accents, low sound quality, or speakers talking over each other, you'll still have to review everything to ensure accuracy.

The Takeaway

Using SDH subtitles offers countless benefits, from improving SEO to ensuring your videos are accessible to people with hearing impairments and non-native speakers. While creating your own subtitles is a viable strategy, it can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you have no previous experience.

By outsourcing the process to a professional subtitling service like GoTranscript, you don't have to worry about accuracy, formatting, and compliance of your subtitles. With 99% (or higher) accuracy, great turnaround times, and affordable pricing options, it's a significantly faster and more convenient solution.