Captioning is turning the audio content of a video into text and displaying it on a screen or monitor. Captions and subtitles typically appear as dialogue or text at the bottom of the screen in films, television programs, video games, or other visual media. They allow people with hearing disabilities to understand and enjoy the dialogue in the same way that others do. In some countries and on most social media platforms, including captions in all video content is mandatory.
Captions have been in use for broadcast video since 1970. Over the years, as media formats evolved, so did caption formats. The emergence of online video sped up this evolution exponentially, with each video platform and editing application seeming to have its own official format.
Although there's no universally accepted captioning formatting standard, some, such as SBV and SSA, are more mainstream than others.
Created by CS Low, aka Kotus, in 1996, the SubStation Alpha (SSA) subtitle file format enables more sophisticated captions than the traditional SRT and related formats. This subtitle format is popular in anime fansubs, which are anime shows translated and subtitled by fans.
SSA is either hard subbed, where subtitles overlay on video during encoding, or soft subbed, where subtitle data appears alongside video data in a Matroska (MKV) container. With the exception of Crunchyroll (a streaming service owned by Sony), it does not see frequent professional use.
Developed by Microsoft, SBV is the caption format for YouTube videos. Google adopted it due to its simplicity and created the SBV framework for YouTube. SBV files are edited and saved in plain text.
Before, you would need to recreate and encode entire caption files and videos each time you changed the caption format to make it compatible with a media player or platform. Today, converting files has never been easier. With GoTranscript, it only takes a few clicks.
GoTranscript can convert all subtitle files, including SSA, SRT, SBV, and SUB, into the format of your choice. It has a comprehensive interface ideal for all users, even those without technical knowledge.