5 Factors That Will Impact Your Closed Captioning Quote

An estimated 24 million Americans have enough hearing loss that they cannot fully understand the meaning of an audiovisual program. Add in the number of viewers watching a program in a loud location—or alternatively, needing to watch in a quiet location with the volume off—and its likely your programming stands to benefit from closed-captioning. So what next?

Of course, you would want to get some quotes for your project. But first, you’ll want to know what goes into these estimates—namely, what factors simplify and complicate the process, driving the price up and/or down.   

1. Caption Placements

Center placement (center of lower third of screen) is the simplest and most common. If you need your captions to be speaker-aligned—meaning, appearing on screen adjacent to the speaker’s body, not just centered at the bottom of the screen, it will likely impact the cost. 

Imagine the volley of caption placements required in a comedy or other video with lively back-and-forth conversation—the captions are going to be all over the place. A movie with 2,000 captions means you are customizing 2,000 placement positions, following each speaker. This will of course increase your quote. But if it is essential to the quality of your user experience, CMI will work with you on keeping it as reasonable as possible.

2.   Mixed Case vs. All Capital

If your project can support all capitals for the captions, it tends to be cheaper than uppercase/lowercase, as the captioning vendor will not be customizing for locations, names, and the beginning of sentences. Any variables that have to be personalized in this way adds labor, and thus cost.

3.   Turnaround Time

Not surprisingly, rush jobs raise the cost, as they require the captioning vendor to re-prioritize other work and secure additional resources on short notice.

4.   Target Language

At CMI, we provide captioning in English, and can also caption in over 150 additional languages. Every time you switch languages, you potentially alter the size of the caption, and might even affect the delivery in a frame or scene. In English, the idioms may fit on one line, but in Spanish they might stretch to two. Now imagine these considerations for a show with a great deal of dialogue. For professional vendors who do this frequently, it’s all in a day’s work. But it might affect the price.

5.   Length

Of course, the length of your video will impact the cost—longer segments almost always have more words to be captioned over short pieces. If not, a reputable vendor will be able to discuss this consideration with you.

Like closed-captioning, localization has a range of variables—some straightforward, some not-so straightforward-—that impact cost. Check out our last blog for insights into the factors that affect your localization quote.

CMI works daily to provide closed-captioning for corporations and Hollywood studios alike. Contact us today so we can help you with the best quality and most cost-effective captioning services for your project.

CMI also provides dubbing, subtitling and voice-over services for audio, film and video.  Learn more about how our client, software company Hubspot, drove engagement through quality localization.

Learn how Hubspot Increased Engagement for its Global E-Learning Academy