The effect of subtitling on correctness of performance in instruction videos.

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More and more companies choose to produce and upload video instructions, instead of or next to paper manuals. Paper manuals are not as effective as they are meant to be, so video instructions might be a good alternative. The most cost-effective way of producing a video instruction would be to use one language for the narration. This would mean that the language spoken in the video is foreign to most of the target group. The present study examined the language use in instruction videos, more specifically the use of subtitles in foreign instruction videos. The aim was to evaluate the effects of subtitles with regard to how well the instructions were followed. In essence, the purpose of this study was to see whether subtitles would enhance the effectiveness of instruction videos. This was done with the help of an experiment in which Dutch participants watched a Spanish spoken video, either accompanied by Dutch subtitles, or without subtitles. The participants were asked to follow the instructions in the video and build the Lego house as correctly as possible. Participants who watched the video with subtitles, had a higher correctness score than participants who watched the video without subtitles. Thus, it appears that subtitles have a beneficial effect on how accurately customers follow the instructions given in a foreign instruction video.
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