As you can see, the price range of closed captioning services is pretty wide. The reason behind the diversity of price points in the CC market is the variation in methods of captions. There are individual transcribers who personally caption videos and charge over $25 per hour. And there are intelligent programs like ContentFries that can generate accurate captions and even paste them on your video for $9 per month.
In this section, we get into the different methods of captioning alongside their respective prices and strong points. This analysis can help you choose the closed captioning service that matches not only your budget but also your needs.
Virtual Assistant: $10 To $50 Per Hour (600 Words Average Output)
Best for Any entrepreneur or personality making over $1 million per year.
Virtual Assistants charge $10 to $50 per hour depending on their experience, competence, and service quality. What assistants charge for transcribing and superimposing the transcribed captions onto a video can also vary based on where they live.
Those living in affordable countries charge less, but there's always the risk of a non-native speaker misunderstanding the language. The more first-world your hire, the less you need to be concerned about their understanding of what's being said.
However, hiring someone in America will cost you more because of their tax and lifestyle cost burdens. Hiring someone in India or Bangladesh might be cheaper because of the cost of living in those countries, but you will need to be more attentive in the hiring process to filter out people who might not have as firm a grasp of English.
Good Virtual Assistants are a luxury that most content creators cannot afford. Even with a seemingly reasonable price point of $10, the overall cost can add up to an unmanageable amount if your monthly video output is high.
Pros of VA:
Human understanding of nuances in your speech delivery - Assistants who personally listen and transcribe audio for captioning can remove loud pauses like hmms and aahs from the audio.
Can execute exact instructions - VAs can also be instructed to deviate from transcription in the subtitles to include commentary captions like "speaking a foreign language," "looking off-screen," etc., to describe what's happening. You can tell them your preferences and get the exact deliverable you need.
Cons of VA:
They might not be good - Using VAs is as good an option as the VA you can afford. There are many amateurs side-hustling as VAs, and they do not have the professionalism or the long-term view to do a good job. A VA doing the bare minimum or being incapable of doing the job they claim can lead to extra work for the client.
They might use a program to do their job for them - This is one of the most common concerns for content creators. Many VAs use intelligent captioning programs like ContentFries to make subtitled videos for them at a fraction of the price they are paid for the service. There is no way of knowing if a VA has personally transcribed the audio or has used ContentFries, which is why many content creators work with ContentFries directly.
Auto-Captioning - Free To $100
Auto captioning is the second umbrella category in the subtitling industry. To automatically generate closed captions, you can use free tools like Youtube and Facebook, or you can use advanced paid ones like ContentFries and Caption Maker. Depending on your captioning needs (quantity), you can pay as little as $9/month to get professional-grade captioned videos with this method.
Best For: Podcasters, Coaches, Comedians, And Knowledge-Based Content Creators.
Autocaptioning is great for people who want to get quickly generated captions and can spare 30 minutes from their day to batch-create subtitled videos. Good auto-captioning programs can help you extract the text transcript from the video and superimpose it on the video.
You must judge auto-captioning programs based on the following factors:
Accuracy of transcription - Otter.ai has one of the best transcription accuracy ratings. ContentFries has over 90% transcription accuracy and far more video editing features. The latter also costs less.
Subtitle Display Options - This aspect deals with how the captions are displayed. A simple transcriber can generate a subtitles file, which is a ledger of captions. But the display font and even superimposing it on the video requires further editing. ContentFries autogenerates captions and provides drag-and-drop display templates. It also offers customization options in terms of caption fonts, size, and placement.
Time-saving / Workflow efficiency - In this Otter.ai can take a hit because its pure transcription service can offer only the text output of the captions. You need to place those in an editor and manage their synchronization with the audio yourself. This can take 30 minutes of editing for 5 minutes of video.
Autocaptioning, like VA transcription, can lead to variations in output quality. How good of a result you get depends a lot on the captioning program you use. Before getting into the top captioning software options, let's look at the overall pros and cons of auto-captioning in general.
The pros of auto-captioning:
Your content is safe from leaks - For high-level podcasters and comedians, leaks can be a major concern. You have to keep your content from leaking unofficially, and one of the best ways to do that is to caption it yourself using an auto-captioning program.
You can personally tweak it and make changes to the content - Virtual Assistants have hundreds of clients and can keep asking for extensions whenever you have editing requirements. Autocaptioning programs allow you to make the changes yourself.
It costs significantly less than hiring transcribers - Because captioning software has a high transcription quota for a low price, it can be infinitely cheaper than a transcription specialist who also knows how to edit videos.
The cons of auto-captioning:
It can be inaccurate - Autocaptioning as an option is as good as an individual program's captioning engine. Not all programs have accurate captioning capabilities. Even default editors of Apple and Microsoft computers can have less than 80% accuracy when generating auto-captions. The poorer your program's captioning capabilities, the more you need to personally proof the final video.
It can be time-consuming - Finally, captioning videos yourself can be time-consuming if you use a transcription-only program. You have to export the subtitles into an editor and have to sync them with the video. Fortunately, this drawback doesn't apply to content fries.