People drinking champagne and celebrating. A person holds a mobile phone and records a captioned video on social media.

3 Free Closed Captioning Apps You Can Try

Previously, we reviewed free browser-based and software tools that provide video captions.

There are also a few free apps that caption videos on mobile and for social media.

Using your phone for captioning can be very useful when the video lives on your smartphone, especially if you want to get the most our of your social media posts.

Captioning videos is incredibly important to reach those who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, but closed captioning also serves the broader community.

How Captions Boost Your Social Content

As of July 2020, over 98 per cent of active Facebook user accounts across the world accessed the social network via mobile phones, and as many of us know, it’s fairly common to look at your phone in public (i.e., not a place where you want everything loudly broadcasted).

In fact, 85% of Facebook users watch videos in their news feed with the sound off, because ‘silent’ is the default mode for videos in most users’ feeds.

The high use of phones to watch videos in public places makes it essential to get your message across in a video without sound. One way to make sure your audiences get your point is to include captions in any video you put up on social media.

Adding Your Captions

So, you have the video on your phone, you want to add captions and quickly upload to social media. Captioning apps are an efficient way to move through this process.

These free video captioning apps rely on automatic speech recognition (ASR) – also called computer speech recognition or speech-to-text (STT) – to transcribe the audio from videos into captions.

ASR is not perfect, but it’s getting better over time. It’s a good idea to dip your toe in and see if one of these video captioning apps help you reach more audiences.

Apps We Tried

AutoCap is available for both Android and iOS devices. The app boasts a ‘wide variety of fonts, colors and text animation’.

Clips is Apple’s iOS editing app that has video captioning as one of its features. The app requires you to have iOS 13.4 or later.

MixCaptions from Team Mixcord is also only available on iOS. The app offers up to 10 minutes of transcription, the ability to customize the placement, font and color of your captions, as well as the ability to add a logo. Team Mixcord also says the app supports 23 languages.

What Are they Like?

When we played with these tools, we used a one-minute video with one speaker, speaking in English with an American accent, very clearly and directly into an iPhone.

As smart as ASR is, these apps still get words wrong, and the currently available free apps are even worse about correct punctuation, which is one aspect that really affects readability.

Because you can’t trust the apps to get everything right the first time, the ability to edit your video is very important. And you need to assume that you will have to take the time to review the captions and correct mistakes. The difference between the words ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ is small to a computer, but it changes the meaning drastically for people.

When Quality Matters

Like most things in life, when quality matters, you probably need to invest a bit of money.

You are likely to be frustrated with the quality of the output when using free apps for captioning videos, especially if you are short on time and other resources.

Ai-Media offers cost effective, high-quality video captions in all languages. Get in touch and we can help you reach more people and ensure accuracy, because adding video captions will increase your viewership, engagement, and shares.


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