One of the most essential tasks of a closed captioner is to remember the people who benefit from our work.
Here are five simple yet effective tips for great closed captions.
- Never use the past tense when describing sounds. Captions should be synchronized with the sound and are therefore in the present tense.
- For off-screen sound effects, it is not necessary to repeat the source of the sound if it is making the same sound a few captions later.
First Caption Second Caption
[dog yelping] [yelping continues]
- When describing an abrupt sound, use the third person verb form.
When describing a sustained sound, use the present participle form of the verb.
- The word “sound” is not necessary, as the viewer already know that the terms in brackets are sound effects.
[projector] instead of [sound of projector]
[glass breaking] instead of [sound of glass breaking]
- Avoid dull captions. [door creaks] is more descriptive than [door opens]. The idea is to communicate the sound and not what it signifies.
[plate shatters] instead of [plate breaks].
[ambulance siren wailing] instead of [ambulance siren]
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and that you will find them useful in your practice.