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Timestamps and Subtitles and Captions, Oh My!

What’s the difference between subtitles and captions? What about timestamps? Do I need any of them? Help!

When you order a transcript from CastingWords, there are several optional upgrades you may choose to apply. Today we’re going to look at two of them: Timestamps, and Subtitles/Captions.

What are Timestamps?

Timestamping is the simpler of the two upgrades, since it doesn’t involve any additional file formats.

When you order timestamps, your audio is transcribed and edited by humans as usual. Once the regular transcript is complete, we run it through an automated process to match up the text with the audio and insert a time code into the transcript at each paragraph break and speaker change, showing where it falls in the original recording.

Why would you want this?

Timestamps allow you to read the transcript, then refer directly to the corresponding spot in your audio (or video) file. This is particularly useful if you will be editing your material or pulling quotes from it.

What are Subtitles and Captions?

man editing video

First of all, while there is a difference between subtitles and captions (more on that in a future post), we tend to refer to them interchangeably at CastingWords because, on our end, they are a single product.

When you add the Subtitles/Captions upgrade to your order, it goes through the same timestamping process described above, and your “human readable” transcript formats – txt, rtf, doc, and html – will contain the same timestamps discussed above.

Then, in addition to the timestamped transcript docs, we produce specially encoded caption and subtitle files that match your text to the audio, not just on a paragraph level, but line by line and word by word. These files can be synced to your audio or, more commonly, video recording to produce onscreen subtitles or closed captions.

These encoded files contain a lot more information than a regular transcript. They are not intended for humans to read, but video editing software – and video content systems like YouTube and Facebook – can sync them to your video to display the text as the words are spoken.

It’s all one upgrade, so you don’t need to decide ahead of time whether you want captions or subtitles, or which file format to get. Just add the Subtitles/Captions upgrade, and you will have access to our full range of subtitle and caption file formats, including srt, vtt, and dxfp, as well as some variations on these. Download the one that meets your needs, or try out a few to see which works best in your setup.

Ready to get started?

Timestamps and Subtitles/Captions can be added to any of our transcription products. Click one of the links below to upload your file:

1-Day Expedited Transcription
1-Week Express Transcription
Budget Transcription

Coming soon: More info on the difference between subtitles and captions.