Captioning is a very specialized type of transcription. It takes a highly skilled typist to do this work, and certification or experience as a court reporter is usually required—particularly for the real-time captioner. Those with these skills and experience can earn a good living working from home as a captioner.
Career Outlook: At-Home Captioning
As the demand for captioners increases and the ability to send large digital files grows easier, more home-based captioning jobs are becoming available.
The demand for captioning rises with the increased production of video content for cable, broadcast, and the web. With the rise of mobile technology, digital content requires captioning so users can access it in noisy environments or with sound turned off.
Types of Work-at-Home Captioning Jobs:
The two basic categories of captioning are real-time and offline, but there are sub-specialties of both:
Real-time captioning is transcribing live events, audio or video. It is the most lucrative and the most demanding of all transcription jobs. Most often real-time transcriptionists work as court reporters, which is not a job that can be telecommuted. However, there are some opportunities for court reporters to put those skills to use as real-time captioners. This can be done remotely from home or as a home business in which the captioner travels to various locations.
One opportunity that involves travel is communication access real-time translation (CART) captioning—real-time transcription of live events for the deaf. Closed captioning, which is done for the hearing impaired and includes some descriptions of sounds such as laughter, can also be done for live video.
Offline captioning is creating captions for recorded audio or video. Closed captioning is more often done as offline captioning. Offline captioning involves more specialized knowledge of how to place the captions within the video with the right timing, so court reporters (and other experienced transcriptionists) will need training to transition to this type of captioning.
Subtitling, a form of offline captioning, is a translation meant for audiences that speak another language. Bilingual skills are needed for this type of captioning.
Click on the link above to learn more about these jobs similar to captioning.
- Real-time transcriptionists
- Medical transcriptionist
- Legal transcription
- Transcription reviewers
- Typing jobs
- Data entry
Getting Started in Work-at-Home Captioning:
Most importantly, you will need experience. Captioning is not a job that you can break into with just a fast typing speed. It requires specialized equipment and the skills to use them. Experience or certification as a court reporter can be useful in getting started in offline captioning and is usually necessary for real-time captioning. Because captioning uses different equipment and has different goals and audiences, additional training is necessary, and that may need to be done in-house or at your expense from a court reporting school.
Next, you will need the equipment. If you are hired as an employee, rather than an independent contractor, your employer may provide some or all of the needed equipment but contractors may need to provide:
- Steno machine
- Specialized software
- Landline phone
- High-speed Internet
The requirements for at-home captioning jobs will vary based on the type of captioning and the company hiring but some common requirements are:
- Captioning experience
- Court reporting education and/or experience
- Typing speed of more than 200 wpm with 98% accuracy
- Four-year degree, often with journalism, English, media studies major
- Successful completion of a typing test.