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7 Best Closed Captioning Services for 2024 (Free & Paid)

Find the best closed captioning service for your video content. We review each service to help you find the right way to caption your videos.
Ortal Hadad
Content Specialist & Blog Editor
Last Updated:
March 5, 2024
9
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

When you don’t have much time on your hands, captioning your videos can be too time-consuming to be worth it. That’s why enlisting the support of a dedicated closed captioning service is the best way forward. These services saves you time and mean you can reap all the benefits that captions offer. 

This article guides you through how to choose a captioning service, what to look for, and 7 of the best free and paid services to take a look at. And, if you’re not convinced you need a closed captioning service, we take you through using a tool like Riverside for quick and easy transcriptions. 

TL;DR

  • Closed captioning services offer human and often automated video and audio transcriptions
  • Using a closed captioning service is a great way to save time, bank on accurate captions, and benefit from other features like translations.
  • Riverside is a great alternative to captioning services for quick, easy, automated transcript generation. 

What is a closed captioning service?

A closed captioning service offers transcription and captioning of your audio and video content. These services usually offer human or automated transcription or both. Their pricing will depend on turnaround time, audio volume, and whether you choose human or automated transcription.

Typically, you’ll upload and submit your audio, pay the fee, and then they’ll email you your transcription when they’ve completed it. 

Closed captioning services vs software

Both closed captioning services and software ultimately generate a transcription of your content. However, closed captioning services tend to offer more human-generated transcriptions compared AI-powered transcription software.  

Benefits of using closed caption services

You might wonder why you’d want to use a closed captioning service over adding captions to your content. Here’s why: 

Saves you time 

Simply put, not all creators have the time to transcribe their own content. Captioning services relieve this pressure by taking care of transcription for you. If you’ve got the budget to pay for it, it’s definitely worth it. 

Accuracy 

Most closed captioning services guarantee a certain level of accuracy. You can rely on their certified professional transcribers and in-house quality assurance processes to produce a high-accurate transcription. 

Other services 

A lot of closed captioning services also offer additional features such as multilingual translation or live captioning, for example. These services might interest you if you’re looking to increase the accessibility of your content. 

How to choose a closed caption service

Choosing a closed captioning service can be tricky, especially when many platforms offer similar things. Here are some factors to take into consideration: 

Accuracy

Take a look at the accuracy that a closed captioning service offers. Since you’re paying a third party to transcribe your content, you don’t want to have to spend additional time editing and adjusting the final transcription. Accuracy will often relate to whether a service offers automated or human transcription. 

Speed & Turnaround Times 

The ideal closed captioning service will offer a satisfactory turnaround time and charge a reasonable price. You don’t want to pay a premium for a transcription service that takes a long time to come back to you. 

Price

Budget is also important when it comes to choosing a closed captioning service. Most services price their transcriptions and captioning per minute of audio. This means you need to know your monthly output to determine how much you’ll likely spend. If you’re a big creator, you might want to seek out a platform with a bulk discount or enterprise pricing. 

File Format

Finally, make sure to check the caption file format that a service offers. Before doing so, though, you need to know what file formats the platforms you publish your content to are compatible with. 

6 Best Free and Paid Closed Captioning Services for 2024

To help get started, this section dives into the 5 best closed captioning services out there right now: 

Rev

Rev closed captioning service
Rev

Price: 

Rev’s fees vary depending on the type of transcription that you choose: 

  • $1.50/minute for human transcription
  • $0.25/minute for automated transcription 
  • $5 - $12 per minute for translated captions (global subtitles) 

If you have substantial captioning needs (over 100 hours), you can sign on to Rev for Business to cut costs and access Rev’s premium features. 

Turnaround time:

The turnaround time also depends on which type of service you choose: 

  • 5-minute turnaround time for automated transcription 
  • 24-hour average turnaround time 
  • 48-hour turnaround time for translated subtitles

Rev promises users 99% accurate closed captions and is a well-known captioning service that works with over 750,000 customers. Since you can choose between their automated or human transcription service, Rev caters to all kinds of creators and budgets. 

Also, you can upload your video file or drop them the link to your already-uploaded content. This makes it easy to add captions to your work that you have already published. 

Key Features:

  • Privacy & security: Your files are all securely stored and safe from unauthorized access. 
  • Integrates into your existing workflow: You can request captions for your content directly from Dropbox, Youtube, Vimeo, or your Google Drive account. 
  • Free editor tool to polish up your captions: If your transcription isn’t quite perfect, you can make adjustments yourself using Rev’s editor tool. 
  • Supports multiple file formats, including .srt, .scc, .ttml, .dfxp, .cap, .mcc, and more. 
  • Multilingual captioning: Rev also offers a subtitle translator service to help you expand your reach. 
  • Supports open captions and lets you customize their font, size, and color. 

Amara

Amara closed captioning services
Amara

Pricing

Free if you use Amara’s subtitle editor on the Amara Public plan. You can also upgrade to Amara Plus, which costs $24/month for 2 users. 

Their professional subtitling and translation services start at $2.50/minute for video captions. You can also opt for a more cost-effective solution. They offer auto-captions with human proofreading at $1.25/minute. 

Turnaround Time 

For their regular service turnaround times, Amara takes 2-3 business days for content which is 30 minutes or less. 

Amara has a free online subtitle editor and a professional subtitle service called Amara on Demand. This means you have the power of choice and a range of services at different price points. 

Key Features 

  • Range of options including auto-captioning, human captions, or a hybrid model. 
  • Open captioning 
  • You can send Amara your specific vocabulary glossary 
  • Multilingual translations 

GoTranscript 

Go Transcript closed captioning services
GoTranscript 

Price and Turnaround Time: 

GoTranscripts prices vary depending on your chosen turnaround time, language, and the amount of audio that needs transcribing: 

For example, for a 5-day turnaround for less than 2500 minutes of audio, you’ll pay $1.43 per minute. 

For a 1 day turnaround of less than 2500 minutes of audio, GoTranscript charges $1.98/minute. 

GoTranscript is a British audio and video transcription service. They only offer human transcription.  This means you can rely on highly-accurate captions and transcriptions produced by certified professionals.

Key features: 

  • Transcribe, caption, and translate your content. 
  • Human transcription only with meticulous reviews and quality assurance. 
  • Multilingual translations. 
  • iPhone app for transcribing voice memos. 
  • Specializes in niche areas such as legal and medical material. 

3PlayMedia

3PlayMedia closed captioning services
3PlayMedia

Price:

3PlayMedia has three types of plans - one that caters to individuals and two that target businesses and enterprises. 

With 3PlayMedia’s express ‘pay as you go’ individual plan, you pay $2.95 per minute for closed captioning and transcription. 

Turnaround Time

3PlayMedia’s turnaround times range from 10 business days to 2 hours. You can choose your desired turnaround time. Note that you must pay a surcharge if you choose to expedite or ‘rush’ your project. For instance, if you choose ‘2 hours’, there is a $5.50 per minute surcharge to pay. 

3PlayMedia is a specialist service that offers live and closed captioning, transcription, audio description, translations and more. 

Key Features 

  • Help you to ensure compliance with video accessibility laws. 
  • Multi-step quality assurance process to guarantee accuracy. 
  • Online portal for easy management of your ongoing projects. 
  • Upload your own technical glossary for specialist vocabulary. 
  • Download your captions in over 10 file formats. 
  • Multilingual translation. You can also create a dedicated ‘translation profile’ that lets you communicate any specific context to help your translator. 

VITAC

Vitac closed captioning services
VITAC 

Price 

For pricing information, you need to get in touch with VITAC directly. 

Turnaround Time 

VITAC promises quality and fast turnaround times. But for more specific timelines, you need to contact them. 

VITAC has been offering captioning and accessibility services since 1986. They work with major television networks in North America and offer live and post-production captioning for various content, programs, and videos. 

Features

  • As well as captioning and transcription, they also offer subtitling and audio description services.
  • Zoom closed captioning

Scribie 

Scribie closed captioning service
Scribie

Price: 

  • Automated transcription is $0.10/minute (but lower accuracy, especially for accented speakers or poor-quality audio files) 
  • Manual transcription - $0.80/minute 

Turnaround Time 

For manual transcription, Scribie promises a 24-hour turnaround time. For Automated transcription it takes 30 minutes. 

Scribie offers automated and manual transcription with a hassle-free and no-frills service. It’s an easy-to-use service with reasonable pricing. 

Features 

  • Confidential and secure. Scribie’s transcribers are all under NDA. 
  • Add-ons including SRT/VTT files, verbatim transcripts, audio time coding, and more. 
  • Online editor that lets you verify your transcript and make changes yourself

A Faster Alternative: Creating Closed Captions for Videos with Riverside

Closed captioning with Riverside

Closed caption services aren’t the only way to create captions for your videos. In fact, you can find yourself racking up a substantial bill - especially if you’re producing a lot of content. Riverside offers a faster, more cost-effective alternative with its automated transcription feature. Let’s take a look at why: 

  • Automated transcription takes a matter of minutes, which saves you time. 
  • Choose to export SRT files ideal for easy captions or TXT files ideal for repurposing recordings into blog post or another type of written content. 
  • Riverside records each participant on their own device rather than over the internet. This results in higher-quality audio which in turn means more accurate transcriptions. 
  • Transcriptions are available in over 100 languages 
  • All transcripts include speaker differentiation to immediately see who’s talking when
  • Text-based audio and video editing so you can use your transcriptions to edit and navigate through your actual recording
  • Captioning tool so you can seamlessly burn captions directly into your video

Learn more, or start captioning your videos seamlessly.

Note that to download transcription files you need to have a Pro plan or higher. That said, we also have a free transcription tool you can upload your recordings to.

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FAQs on Closed Captioning Services

What is the best-closed caption service?

This depends on your needs and budget. Also, you’ll need to decide if you want human transcription or automated. Riverside’s automated transcription feature is fast and easy to use. Plus, since it’s a native feature you don’t need to pay for a third party tool or split up your workflow. 

How much does it cost to use a closed captioning service?

Closed captioning pricing usually depends on how much audio you’re transcribing and your chosen turnaround time. Different platforms and service providers also have different pricing structures. 

Who provides closed captioning?

As we’ve seen, several closed caption service providers are out there. But you also don’t need to use a dedicated captioning service to caption your videos. You can generate a transcription using a tool like Riverside and then upload it alongside your video. 

How do I get professional closed captioning?

Use the list we put together in this article to browse some professional captioning services!

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