Our Very First Facebook Live!

It’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week! Every year during this week, professionals from our industry share about our profession and what it means to be a captioner or reporter! We decided to take our message LIVE on Facebook!

If you’ve ever wondered how captioning works, the video below gives a great overview. Jen shares about the technology that makes the magic happen and WHY captioning matters for those with hearing loss.

During the live feed, we also had live captions streaming. We’ve included the transcript below the video. If you’d like more information about how we can provide captions for your event, please contact us! Whether it is a Facebook Live event or a large conference on-site, we’ve got you covered!


>> JEN SCHUCK: Welcome, everybody, to Caption Pros’ first ever Facebook Live event! Did you know this week is Court Reporting and Captioning Week? One of our goals this week is to spread the word about how captioning is done in a live setting and to share our love of this profession.

     I personally have been writing on this nifty, little machine for 25 years. We call it writing. You might think of it as typing. This is our nifty, little stenographic machine. There we go. You’ll notice there are no letters on the keys. We write words phonetically, syllable by syllable instead of letter by letter like you would on a QWERTY keyboard. This, if you don’t know, is a QWERTY keyboard, just your traditional keyboard.

     We have special software called computer-aided transcription software, otherwise known as CAT software, that we use that takes our machine shorthand combinations from the steno machine and translates it back into English. For those of you who are techy, you will like to know that we create a database with our CAT software, and it compares each stroke on the steno machine to the database, and it renders a perfect translation within a second. Well, we hope it’s perfect.

     Because there are only 22 keys on this machine, you’ll see, and speakers often speak up to 300 words per minute, sometimes our fingers may hit the wrong key, which renders a word that you might squint at when you’re reading captions.

     That is because of the layout of the keyboard. I’m going to show you what that looks like. If there were actually letters on the steno machine, that’s what they would look like. And, you will see, they don’t make much sense to you unless you read steno. That explains why sometimes you might squint at the captions, and there may be a wrong word. One slip of the finger and we get an entirely different word than we intended.

     Captioning can be provided in all sorts of settings. Most often you think of captions on television if you’re in a restaurant or even at home if you happen to turn the captions on. Have you ever wondered how the captions got there? If it’s a live event, like a sporting event or the news, chances are pretty good it’s someone like me sitting in their office somewhere around the world connected to the television station and writing at the speed of sound.

     We at Caption Pros love providing communication access in settings that are “outside the box.” Think about the training you attended or the online seminar or, better yet, that conference in the very large convention center or ballroom where you had difficulty understanding what was said. We provide services both onsite and remotely. If we’re remote, we just need to be able to hear your event, and we provide a weblink for you to view the realtime captions.

     The captions can also be integrated into your web page or platform such as Adobe Connect or Zoom or WebEx. You will also see us in classrooms providing captions to individuals who may have hearing loss. Our goal is to provide a meaningful experience to consumers reading our captions.

     If this interests you, please let me know. There are projects going on all over the country called Project A to Z. It’s a course that would give you the opportunity to see if this interests you. You cannot only become a captioner; you can become a court reporter. Court reporters have a front-row seat to all things happening in the courtroom. There are court reporters on Capitol Hill, in the House of Representatives, and the Senate. If you would like more freedom, you can be a freelance reporter and report in depositions and arbitrations. The possibilities are endless.

     This profession has taken me all over the world, both as a captioner and court reporter. I’m so grateful I had a high school teacher who thought this might be a profession I might be interested in. I gave it a try, and I never looked back.

     So if you’re interested in more information, send an email to us or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions. If you would like to add realtime captioning to your next event, no matter how big or small, we’re happy to work with you. Thanks for joining us on our first Facebook Live event. We hope to do this more.

     Until next time, thanks so much.