What are Forced Subtitles? Understanding the Key to Inclusive Media

what are forced subtitles

Subtitles play a vital role in conveying on-screen information to viewers. Although initially intended for individuals who are hard of hearing, subtitles have gained popularity among many young people who choose to enjoy content with subtitles and without audio.

Gone are the days when subtitles were solely associated with individuals who are hard of hearing. Audience preferences have evolved significantly. In fact, a recent study revealed that 53% of Americans now utilize subtitles more frequently than in previous years, highlighting the growing significance of subtitles in mainstream viewing habits.

Most people reading subtitles are reading what’s known as “closed captioning,” but another option is forced narrative or forced subtitles. But what are forced subtitles? And what does FN mean in text? We’ll answer everything you need to know in this guide.

What are Forced Subtitles?

Forced narrative content consists of pieces of text overlaid onto the screen. These subtitles are designed to provide additional information and context to a video or movie.

But why are these hard subtitles required?

In many cases, the audio within a video may be insufficient to keep the viewer in the loop. Forced captions can consist of practically anything, including:

  • Extra dialogue
  • Location identifiers
  • Time identifiers
  • Textual graphics

Unlike ordinary subtitles, forced subtitles in movies go beyond reproducing audio. They provide additional information that may remain unsaid in dialogues or revealed through actions, enhancing the viewer’s understanding and immersion.

So, why are they useful?

These subtitle types are designed to overcome language barriers and provide a seamless viewing experience, particularly within overseas content.

In the past, the demand for international content wasn’t there. Still, this niche group has expanded, with Americans watching more foreign-made content than ever, making forced narrative subtitles even more common.

How are Forced Subtitles Different from Traditional Subtitles?

Traditional subtitle use has reached peak popularity, with Generation Z driving the trend forward. According to one survey, Gen Z males are the likeliest to use subtitles, with 61% of these viewers saying they preferred to use them.

In contrast, forced narrative subtitles are designed to clarify or provide vital information to the audience that may not be explained by the audio or action occurring on the screen. Movie-forced subtitles will never translate the entirety of a program, nor do they need to be toggled on or off.

Note that these subtitles may occasionally appear alongside existing closed captioning, but most creators prefer avoiding this to limit confusion.

How to Use Forced Narrative Subtitles

Being able to answer, “What are forced subtitles?” empowers you to use them as tools to enhance understanding and make your content more accessible to a broader audience.

Naturally, these subtitles aren’t necessary for every type of content produced. This section discusses when you might need forced subtitling.

Foreign Language Written Content

Some TV shows or movies may require the viewer to read and understand text elements to follow what’s happening on the screen. But if you are broadcasting to a non-English audience, this can necessitate forced subtitling.

For example, forced subtitling can be used for on-screen signboards or text messages. By using it, you can stop your audience from losing track of what’s going on.

On the other hand, you can add a forced subtitle in English if expanding your content into a non-native market, so it works both ways.

Foreign Language Dialogue

Occasionally, you may have a character who speaks in a different language for a few moments. When showcased to non-speakers, it is essential to incorporate forced subtitling to ensure they don’t miss any critical information.

Inaudible Dialogue

Sometimes, you may be rebroadcasting clips from older videos, which may lack the audio quality of today’s productions. For example, companies creating history documentaries or playing clips from interviews can experience this issue.

Forced subtitling ensures your audience can keep up with what’s happening on screen.

Unusual Dialogue

Likewise, while some audio may be inaudible, you may experience unusual dialogue requiring additional clarification.

For example, if two characters communicate in sign language, including hard subtitling will allow you to tell your audience what’s taking place.

How to Create Forced Narrative Subtitling

Forced subtitling may not be necessary for every video you create, but it can be a valuable tool for specific types of content. While not universally required, forced subtitles are crucial in particular contexts.

Sonix AI leverages artificial intelligence as part of the most advanced subtitling platform in the world today. We make it easy for you to create subtitles for your video content. The process resembles that of formulating closed captions.

Follow these five steps to create your forced subtitling:

  1. Upload your video file to Sonix. (Note that longer videos will take longer to process than shorter ones.)
  2. Edit your transcript to ensure that it is 100% accurate.
  3. Click “Split Subtitles” and select the duration, character length, and number of lines.
  4. Manipulate your subtitles down to the millisecond.
  5. Click “Burn-In.”

As you can see, the process follows a nearly identical pathway to creating ordinary subtitles. So, if you’re already familiar with Sonix’s standard subtitling features, creating forced subtitles just requires pressing an extra button.

With Sonix’s extensive support for nearly 40 major world languages, you have the flexibility to accomplish this with any language. This broad language coverage empowers you to ensure your content is accessible to diverse audiences worldwide.

Enhance Your Subtitling Efficiency with Sonix

Whether you’re venturing into a new market or aiming to facilitate audience comprehension of complex content, forced subtitling is a valuable asset. It enables you to effectively reach and engage your target audience while ensuring information is easily understood.

At Sonix AI, we offer a comprehensive suite of automated tools designed to enhance your subtitling efficiency and achieve unparalleled accuracy rates. Our platform empowers you to effortlessly translate audio, format transcriptions, and make necessary adjustments before embedding your subtitles. With Sonix, you can optimize your subtitling workflow and ensure the highest quality output.Additionally, we simplify the process by providing world-class support during every step. So, if you need to add subtitles to your video content, try Sonix for free today.

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