Closed Captions

“I can’t hear as well as I’d like to,
but I wish I could see as well as possible.”

Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (or Closed Captions) are not only helpful for those who suffer from severe or profound hearing loss but also for those with mild hearing loss and good lip reading skills. It is therefore necessary to understand the different needs involved in catering for the above requirements. Interlinguistic subtitles are an adaptation of the film’s dialogues to another language, therefore the aim is for an audience who are unable to understand or have little knowledge of the source language used in the film. On the other hand, intralinguistic subtitles,  are a written summary of the whole sound content of an audiovisual product, including non-verbal and para-verbal elements, strictly intended to reach a deaf or hard of hearing audience.

Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (also referred to as closed captions) should respect certain parameters, such as:

  • Identifying different characters. Here at Intertitula we use different coloured subtitles (which vary according to the importance of the characters and from country to country), rather than the outdated technique of placing the subtitle below the speaker
  • Lexical correspondence between the written and spoken word, given that the deaf and hard of hearing are used to lip reading
  • Ease of reading: with sans serif fonts and with background where necessary (for teletext)
  • Good, clear punctuation is fundamental for all interlinguistic subtitles and in the case of SDH subtitling, accurate punctuation is essential
  • Other: paraverbal and non-verbal characters, brackets (with descriptions, intonation and tone) and so on

INTERTITULA is well aware of the requirements of subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing and takes care to follow these scrupulously.