Caption Training: What Makes a Good Candidate?

Looking for a vocation and intrigued by real-time captioning? The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a need for captioning and accessibility in the deaf community. Captioners are in demand more than ever before! It can be hard to figure out how to get started in a field that you don’t hear much about, but caption training is worth the research! Let’s start with the skills that help make someone well-suited for the job. An extensive vocabulary and a good understanding of English (or whatever language you will be captioning) are fundamentals for good-quality captioning. Accuracy and attention to detail are also keys to success. A captioner should also have stamina and work well under pressure, as the job often requires sitting in the same position for prolonged intervals with no time for breaks.


Study up on Steno in your caption training

 The first thing you should know is that captioning is in the field of stenography. An understanding of stenographic shorthand is vital because it is frequently the method used for live captioning equipment. At this time, Caption Pros uses all stenographic captioners, which are humans using machine shorthand. It is akin to the Gregg Shorthand method but uses a machine instead of a pen and paper.   Even those who are among the quickest at typing cannot match the rapidity of human speech.

There are at least two free programs to pursue if this piques your interest.

Discover Steno

Another method for producing real-time captioning is voice writing.

A Need for Speed

You learn stenography by going to court reporting school.  It’s a skill you can accomplish at your own pace but requires commitment and dedication to learn the art.  There are some community colleges, as well as private institutions, that offer accredited court reporting training. After developing a sturdy grasp of the stenographic theory, it’s time to work on fine-tuning speed and accuracy. Captioning training can be quite intensive, as it prepares one for typing at over 225 words per minute. (Our lead captioner, Jen, has reached speeds of 295 words per minute – imagine the training she’s done!)

Earn Those Certifications

Let’s talk about the certifications. A Certified Realtime Captioner, CRC, certification is offered

by the National Court Reporters Association, NCRA.  Other significant certifications are the Registered Merit Reporter, which tests high-speed dictation, and the Registered Diplomate Reporter, which tests overall knowledge of a broad range of topics.  While certifications are essential, they’re not a prerequisite for a captioning position.  As with most careers, entry positions are necessary to gain experience. Working with an experienced captioner as a mentor will help expose you to the knowledge and skills of the trade.

Value the Industry

The training involved in becoming a captioner calls for respect for the craft and the consumers who rely on the captions.  Captions can convey life or death information and highlight why a captioner must be qualified to perform the job. Caption Pros’ captioners value their work and love advocacy and fighting for accessibility in all spaces. The commitment and dedication involved in training will follow a captioner into their career and make them a great captioner.

All of our captioners have some level of certification.  So when you choose Caption Pros, you can feel confident in the accessibility you are providing. Contact us today for your captioning needs.