SDH subtitles meaning

If you have ever wondered, “What does SDH mean in subtitles?”, here is the answer: SDH stands for “Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”.

But is it the same as captions? Yes and no.

Captions vs. subtitles

Subtitles are created for the viewers who don’t speak the language of the source. It means that people can hear background noises, music and other sounds, understand who the speaker is, and they just need a translation. So, subtitles are usually added separately when the film is already released.

As we have already pointed out, SDH subtitles are made for people with hearing disorders or disabilities. That is why they should include all the background noises and other sounds, regardless of the language.

On the other hand, captions have another mission: they make the visual available in the environments where the viewer can’t turn the sound on (for example, public transport). Another case – the actors speak indistinctly, have speech impairments or overuse vernacular.

Example of watching video with SDH subtitles in transport

In all the cases, it is necessary to display not only the speech but all the other sounds as well, including the speakers' identifiers. The language is usually the same as the one in the original video, for example, English.

SDH captions vs. SDH subtitles

Here we are walking on thin ice, as the difference between those two notions is very discreet. Theoretically, captions and subtitles are placed in different parts of the screen. Still, nowadays, users can customize this setting as they like, as well as the font, size and alignment.

Captions are not usually supported through HDMI, but it’s not essential for the viewers. The only real difference may be that subtitles usually translate the audio while captions don’t, but even that is not the strict rule with SDH.

Example of SDH subtitles

How to create SDH subtitles

There are dozens of free tools, for example, Clideo’s Subtitles Maker. This service works online and doesn’t require registration or program installation. The tool is user-friendly, and you can master it without reading lengthy manuals.

Here you can set up timestamps and write down the full audio transcription, including background sounds.