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The Importance of Captioner Certification

Some people understand the importance of providing captions for those who rely on them. With one out of seven people experiencing some degree of hearing loss, captions help to provide better communication access and equal access to learning and job opportunities. Read more about the importance of captioner certification below.

The general public does not consider the individual behind the scenes who provides captioning services. While many captioners are highly trained and certified, it might be surprising to learn that there is actually no requirement for licensure to provide these services.  There also is no formalized system for becoming a captioner. With a few exceptions, most states do not require that captioners become licensed or certified.  

With the increasing demand for captioning over the last few years, providing highly accurate captioning is more important than ever. That is why at Caption Pros, we are advocates for improved training standards and certification for all captioners! To encourage further conversations, this blog discusses current captioner requirements, why captioner requirements should change, certification opportunities, and certification through the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning.

Current Captioner Certification Requirements 

Most states do not require certification or licensure to become a captioner. While nearly half of the states in the U.S. require students to obtain licensure as a court reporter, only Nevada and Massachusetts require certification for realtime captioners. Captioners must be able to write in excess of 200 words per minute with at least a 98% accuracy rate. Therefore, training in stenography and practice is mandatory.  Training with an experienced captioner is beneficial to becoming successful in the field. 

Why Captioner Requirements Should Change  

Realtime captioning provides communication access for individuals with hearing loss whose first language is not American Sign Language, those learning English as a second language, or individuals with other learning disabilities. These individuals rely on captions to provide the information they might need to succeed at school, participate fully in an event, or be successful on the job. On a larger scale, captions can provide important realtime news updates during a lockdown situation, weather emergency, and more. Inaccurate captions can lead to confusion and can actually be detrimental to life. 

Captioners themselves would also benefit from certification. Becoming certified as a captioner provides more lucrative job opportunities and proves individual skills and abilities on a national and global level. Certification encourages captioners to become better at their skill.  Most importantly, it gives confidence to those who rely on captioning services daily to know the information they receive is accurate.

Captioner Certification through the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning

At Caption Pros, all of our captioners hold certification with either the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning or the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or both.

If you want to become a certified captioner, we recommend that you sit for the NER-Certified Speech-to-Text Provider (NCSP) assessment. This is Global Alliance’s Level 1 skills assessment. It is an evaluation that emphasizes accuracy, speed, as well as how accurately idea units are captured in captions. It is a reflection of the job that a captioner performs on a daily basis.  

The grading method uses the NER  model (number of words, edition error, and recognition error). It was developed by Dr. Pablo Romero-Fresco and is used internationally to assess the accuracy of live broadcast captions. Many captioning companies use it globally to evaluate live realtime captions.

Any Global Alliance member is eligible to sit for the NCSP! Nonmembers are also welcome and will become members upon registration. 

Learn more about test costs, the certification testing process, and how to register


Other Captioner Certification Opportunities

NCRA provides a Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) testing and certification. The CRC consists of a 50-question written test, a 5-minute skills test dictated at 180 wpm, and a mandatory training workshop. This certification is designed to measure the candidate’s knowledge, skill, and ability to produce an accurate, simultaneous translation and display of live proceedings utilizing computer-aided translation based on a verbatim grading scale.

Other important certifications include the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) or Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR).

  • The RMR consists of a skills test for literary material, jury charge, and testimony/Q&A at various wpm requirements. This certification tests for speed and not accuracy.
  • The RDR is the highest level of certification available to court reporters and consists of only a written knowledge test. This certification tests for knowledge on various topics, not speed or accuracy.

Caption Pros: Advocates for Accessibility

At Caption Pros, we believe in embracing the challenges that come with disabilities and are advocates for accessibility. That is why we strongly believe in captioner certification. All of our captioners are certified to ensure that our services feature highly accurate captions to elevate communication access for individuals who are deaf or experiencing hearing issues.

Communication access is a right, and having a more inclusive culture is vital for a fully functioning and successful society. Learn more about our award-winning captioning services.