Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: Low

What’s What: Did you know that all programming in the U.S. must be captioned by law? With the increased production of video content used online and on television, there is a growing demand for all types of captioners. You often have the freedom to work from home and you’ll get to watch a wide variety of content. If you’re a fast, accurate typist and know your way around a steno machine, you can make decent, steady money adding text captions to video programming. 

Amava Take: You can get paid to watch football games, movies, the news and more. With TV on 24/7 there are all kinds of hours available. You can do live captions, closed captioning, or offline captions. You can work for yourself, a company or a captioning service, remotely or on site. There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility for the right type of person. 

From the Front Lines: 

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?

People who have steno skills and can type at least 225 wpm with 98% accuracy.

 Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Love the comma, embrace the comma, the comma is your friend.  

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

Live captioning happens all the time—even on weekends, holidays and in the middle of the night. You’re in front of a monitor, steno machine and computer all the time. You’ll start your day reviewing your programming lineup and looking up industry-specific or unusual words. 

From the Trenches:  

What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?

I love taking in so much content. I’m either being entertained or I’m learning something new. 

How would you describe the hard parts?

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand a heavy accent, interpret urban slang or spell an industry-specific word.

What surprised you the most about the experience?

People don’t use proper grammar when they speak and slang is more common than not. I had to get used to using words like “wanna” and “gonna.”

Special Requirements: Most of the time you need previous experience doing captions or working as a court reporter. If you can pass a test and type 225 error-free words per minute, you can usually start out freelancing without specific experience or education. Completing court reporting or captioning school is a sure way into the field. 

Finding a Position: The NCRA is an association for captioning professionals and court reporters offering a job board, networking, information about schools, conferences, and changes in the field. Stenofabulous is filled with stories about being a captioner and finding work. The CCAC is a captioning advocacy group offering information, resources and networking. You can also find jobs and information at the Hearing Loss Association.