Why You Need to Caption Spanish Video on the Web

January 28, 2019 BY SOFIA ENAMORADO
Updated: June 6, 2019


Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world with over 437 million speakers.

In the United States alone, there are over 58.9 million Hispanics – and by 2030, it’s estimated this number will grow to 75 million.

Creating content (particularly video content) to include and target the Hispanic population is becoming more important than ever before. As you will soon learn, Hispanics are one of the biggest consumers of online video. Not only do they watch English-language video, but they also heavily indulge – and sometimes prefer – Spanish-language video.

The main motivations for captioning Spanish video online are a growing Hispanic audience, Spanish language captioning laws, and benefits like accessibility and increased traffic to videos.

subtitles are intended for viewers who can hear, but can't understand the audio. captions are for deaf or hard of hearing viewers. if you are creating spanish-language video, you should add closed captions

The Market for Spanish Online Video is Growing

It’s no surprise that the Spanish-speaking population in the United States is growing. It follows, then, that demand for Spanish-language internet video consumption in the US is also on the rise. The facts speak for themselves:

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With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that companies are spending and creating more Spanish content. Where traditionally Spanish content lived in broadcast networks like Univision and Telemundo, today the accessibility of online video has caused an explosion in Spanish video.

Buzzfeed’s bilingual YouTube channel, Pero Like, has over 1 million subscribers. Netflix has released a plethora of Spanish original content including binge-worthy shows like La Casa de Las Flores, Narcos: Mexico, and La Casa de Papel.

From streaming services to media companies, Spanish video is growing and with that growth comes a crucial need to caption.

Spanish Video Captioning Requirements

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FCC regulations require closed captions on Spanish-language or bilingual broadcast television in the US. Spanish captions are held to the same broadcasting caption quality standards as English content, in terms of accuracy, synchronicity, completeness, and placement.

The FCC’s Spanish captioning rules apply to online video that also aired on American television with captions, in accordance with the CVAA.

Other disability discrimination laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 compel certain organizations or institutions to caption online video, but they do not address Spanish-language captioning explicitly.

spanish captioning is required under the FCC and CVAA, some companies have gotten sued for lack of captioning under the ADA

Benefits of Adding Captions to Spanish Video

should i translate my content? read the blog

The benefits of captioning Spanish-language videos are similar to those obtained when captioning English-language videos:

  • Accessibility: videos are more accessible to Spanish-speaking viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Better Comprehension: Spanish closed captions help the viewer follow along and absorb information better, especially if Spanish is not their first language.
  • Easier Video Search: Spanish transcripts make it easier to search for a keyword or phrase in a video or video library to find what you’re looking for.
  • Improved SEO: Search engines index captions and transcripts, making your videos rank higher on search results. There is much less search competition for non-English queries, so optimizing your Spanish video for search will have an even greater impact than English video SEO.
  • Translation: make Spanish video accessible to non-Spanish speakers by translating captions into multilingual subtitles.

How to Add Captions to Spanish Video

Want to add captions to your Spanish videos? Submit them for professional transcription and captioning.

Check our How-To Guides page for instructions on how to add captions to video using different video editors or media players.

need spanish captions? click to get started

This post was originally published by Emily Griffin on May 29, 2015 and has since been updated.

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