Captioning Services Australian – Closed Captions vs. Open Captions vs. Subtitles

We caption to Australian Professional Standards. No AI. No outsourcing.

Transcript Divas Subtitling, Closed Captioning Services and Open Captioning Services are offered as part of our video and film transcription services. There can be confusion over what open and closed captioning (CC) is and where subtitles fit in. So, let us clear that up with a quick definition.

Captioning is the process of displaying film and video dialogue as a running text across the bottom of the screen as teh video plays. There are two kinds of text, either closed captions or open captions.

Closed captions are the most common – and probably what nearly all people who are talking about captions are referring to. Our techs will create a ‘caption file’ that contains a text overlay of what was spoken and coded instructions for the video platform (e.g. Vimeo, YouTube, Netflix etc.) about how the platform should display that text with the video. As closed captions are an overlay on top of the video file, the viewer can turn closed captions on and off. Open captions are different.

Open captions are combined with the video file itself by our technicians. Open captions can be thought of as being “burnt in” onto the actual video file itself and not existing as a separate file as in closed captions. Open captions are permanent and cannot be turned off. On the plus side, you do not need to have access to the video platform/player, and once created, the captions are fixed to a single video file you can share just like you would with other video files. There are fewer technical sharing issues with open captions.

Subtitling Services. So, what is a subtitle then? Subtitles and the process of subtitling are sometimes used in Australia (and the UK) to mean the same thing as “closed captioning” (for a more detailed description, see Wikipedia – Closed Captioning). However, in the USA/Northern Hemisphere, subtitles refer to the process of displaying a translation of the film or video dialogue as text on the screen (e.g. a Chinese language film displaying English language subtitles). If someone uses the term subtitles – it is best to see what exactly you need – confusion abounds!


We use highly experienced Caption Technicians to create production captions. Technicians will create your captions so they will exceed the Australian Captioning Quality Standard. See here: What do we mean by Quality Captioning?