Closed captioning, also known as video captioning, is a process of displaying a text version of dialogue and other relevant audio in a film, television, live events, or other visual display. It entails matching transcribed text to the visual images at the bottom of the screen to provide interpretive or additional information to aid people with hearing impairment. 

Closed captions are also helpful in situations where audio can’t be heard either because one is in a noisy place like the airport or is in a “no audio” area like a hospital. They communicate the spoken word, identify speakers, indicate the voice tone, describe sound effects, and denote music to give full access to the video to deaf audiences. 

It takes a highly-skilled, experienced, and certified typist, a captioner, to do the captioning work accurately, especially in real-time. Working as a closed captioner offers you many benefits and opportunities, such as serving people who are deaf or hard of hearing and working from home independently as a freelancer.

Does a Captioner Need Any Specific Tools For The Closed Captioning Job?

How to become a closed captioner

If the answer to this question is YES, you need special tools to help you do your closed captioning job. These tools may vary depending on the job type, but the most common ones include:

  • A computer
  • High-speed internet
  • Captioning software
  • Quality headset
  • Digital foot pedal
  • Landline phone
  • Steno machine

Steps to Follow to Get Started on a Successful Closed Captioner Career

  1. Develop typing skills- As a captioner, it is critical to have exceptional typing skills since you will mostly have limited time to complete the captions. You not only need to type quickly but with great accuracy as well. Most closed captioners aim at 98% accuracy and 200 words per minute. There are many typing test websites where you can practice and track your typing skills.
  2. Acquire necessary captioning equipment- You need special equipment to work as a closed captioner. Companies will often provide that once they hire you, but if you work from home as a freelancer, you will have to get this equipment yourself. The equipment can also help you practice and develop your captioning skills at home. 
  3. Build your experience- Most companies prefer candidates with previous experience. It would greatly help if you looked up novice or entry-level transcriptionist jobs involving live or pre-recorded monologues or dialogues to help build your experience.
  4. Get certification- A certification can significantly highlight your qualifications and put you ahead of the competition. For example, a Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) credential from National Court Reporters Association verifies a captioner’s advanced skill level. It also prepares them for high-level captioning work areas like CART or broadcast television.
  5. Determine if you will be a freelancer or an employee- A closed captioner’s job comes with the freedom to decide the career path to follow, whether as an independent contractor or an employee. Once decided, start applying for jobs from databases and websites showcasing work opportunities and kick start your career in closed captioning. Vanan Services offers great captioning career opportunities for freelance captioners at the most competitive rates.

Are You Ready To Start Your Career As A Professional Captioner?

Captioning is a niche profession that is endlessly rewarding and interesting. Each task presents a unique set of technical and linguistic challenges. Still, it is a highly satisfying career, knowing you offer accessibility support to many people who’d otherwise have missed it. Become a captioner today, a job with a real purpose and mission and plenty of opportunities.


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