Last week one of my friends was curious that these days he sees a lot of videos having running subtitles at the bottom of the screen. He wanted to know more as he was interested in doing the job. I quickly realized he was referring to closed captioning jobs.
As I was aware of the topic, I quickly explained to him all the details and then decided to pen these down in this article for all my readers who may have questions about closed captioning jobs.
Before we dive into the details, let’s have a quick overview of what closed captioning jobs entail and what you could expect when you work as a closed captioner.
What Is Closed Captioning?
You may have already seen those descriptions that appear at the bottom of a TV screen during a show or movie. We call these the closed captions. They help viewers understand the content of the program.
Closed captioning jobs involve the creation of captions for audio and video files. These are especially helpful for hearing-impaired humans to understand and follow what is being said or referred to in a program.
Today, many TV and film producers rely on closed captioning to pass their messages across effectively and also reach a wider audience.
As a closed captioner, you’ll watch shows or videos and type what you hear.
While captioning sounds like a simple job to do, but once you dig into the world of captioning jobs, you will soon realize it’s harder than you had imagined.
There is more to it than just putting dialogue into writing. It is tough to do the job efficiently, especially if you have no prior experience as a captioner.
For instance, you should be comfortable working on a computer and typing accurately and quickly. Most companies looking for closed captioners demands a typing speed of around 200wpm!
Besides, you must have a reliable internet connection and high-quality headphones.
Each company can have different requirements, so always check the equipment requirements before applying to ensure you have what you need to be proficient with the company.
Types For Closed Captioning Jobs
Depending upon the nature of work, there are two types of captioning positions you should know as you start your closed captioning work at home adventure:
- Offline Captioning
- Real-Time Captioning
Let’s look at these:
Offline captioning involves providing captions to pre-recorded television shows or movies. Shows or other programs that don’t get aired live often use this captioning.
You do not need years of professional experience to do this, but you must know how the system operates to ensure the correctness of your work.
One important thing is the use of time codes. You must understand these time codes to perform your job effectively. The same will help you segment your captions, so they sync correctly with the spoken words in the tape.
To be successful as an offline captioner, it’s essential that you type fast with the fewest typing errors, have excellent English skills, and very comfortable using computers.
As an offline captioner, you may first transcribe the recorded program and then use the same script for your captions.
Sometimes companies that hire your services of captioning do provide the pre-transcribed archives along with the recorded video/audio files.
Real-time captioning involves providing captions for live videos/audios. Companies use this captioning for live broadcast, news, sports events, or even a church sermon.
As the real-time captioning involves live programming, clients expect the captioners to produce correct captions within 2 seconds of each word spoken.
So, you can imagine how fast it goes. It requires tremendous typing speed with 100% accuracy. You must have stenographic skills because real-time captioners typically use stenographic shorthand while working.
Because of this, the real-time captioners are highly experienced and heavily trained professionals. Before getting into the job, they undergo training programs at dedicated captioning schools.
For all these reasons, real-time captioning pays far better than offline captioning does. I know some real-time captioners who make $100K or more per year.
What Skills Do You Need For Closed Captioning Jobs?
While real-time captioning does require specific training, offline captioning doesn’t need any. However, you must possess some skills and experience at your back.
Offline captioning jobs rarely come at entry-level. Instead, you must have a past job experience that involved typing or transcription.
Besides, you must know the industry for which you will caption, as you will use the industry language and writing for a specific audience.
The ability to type fast and accurately is crucial. Almost all the captioning jobs have a set typing speed requirement, sometimes up to 220 words per minute, with 98 percent accuracy.
Usually, companies test your typing skills before hiring you for captioning jobs. Before applying for captioning jobs, I advise you to test your typing skills using a free online typing test such as at TypingTest.com.
Captioners also must possess an outstanding command over the English language. Lately, I have seen some captioning job postings that also look for fluency in other languages, such as Spanish.
Real-time captioning always requires a lot of experience and a related degree. Real-time captioners are often excellent court reporters because they already have the remarkable listening and typing skills needed for real-time captioning.
What Tools Do You Need For Closed Captioning Jobs?
To be proficient with your job as a captioner, you must need some equipment. These may vary as per the companies requirements, but some necessary equipment includes:
- A reliable computer with access to an office suite, like Microsoft Office
- Headset to help you accurately hear what’s being captioned
- Foot pedal to slow down, or stop, playback easily
- Separate monitor, or television, to view the programming
- Closed-Captioning software; some companies may recommend a specific one
- Dedicated phone line for business use
How Much Do You Make In Closed Captioning Job?
How much can you earn as a captioner largely depends on the type of captioning (offline and real-time), the industry, amount of work, employment status (PT and FT), prior work experience, and the expertise in the field you do caption work.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2019, the median pay for court reporters (real-time captioning) was $60,130.
Most companies hiring closed captioners pay anywhere from $10 to $75 per hour.
Frankly, it all depends on your experience and professional resources.
With a college degree and exceptional typing skills, you can get started with real-time closed captioning, which is where the higher salary levels are.
Even if you don’t end up at the highest pay levels, the average pay rate is excellent if you have the skills to be an accurate and fast closed captioner.
Companies Offering Closed Captioning Jobs
Now, since you understand all the basics about closed captioning, here is a list of the best places to find closed captioning jobs.
Note: Not every company on this list has regular job postings, but they do occasionally have open positions for captioners.
1- Caption Max
Caption Max hires both offline and real-time closed captioners. You must have at least one to two years of experience for either position.
For real-time captioning, an A.A. or B.S. in Court and Conference Reporting, or a similar degree, is a must.
If qualified, the company hires you as an independent contractor rather than an employee.
Like any other online jobs, you get flexible hours to work.
Caption Colorado offers part-time and full-time captioning jobs for real-time captioners. You get the liberty of flexible schedules, full technical support, 401(k), and vacation pay.
To qualify, you must have at least 98% accuracy and complete a 30-minute real-time captioning assessment.
The company may require you to take multiple evaluations throughout the hiring process to ensure it hires only the best candidates.
The selection process is pretty strict, as they will only invite those with the best scores for further interviewing.
Aberdeen regularly hires professionals for captioning services, including offline closed captioners, real-time captioners, and caption editors.
The company mostly deals with is Christian-based programs, so it requires you to have a good grasp of Christian terminology.
You can either work as an independent contractor or permanent employee, depending on the open position. Real-time captioners can make $75 per hour, whereas other captioners start around $12 to $15, depending on experience.
4- Captioning Star
CaptioningStar is a prominent captioning service provider in the industry, with professional captioners delivering over 99% accuracy.
The company specializes in providing real-time captioning services to its clients.
They offer jobs for experienced captioners to work from home with flexible schedules. You can earn from $60 to $70 per hour.
LinkedIn, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Grammy Awards are some primary clients for this company, so you can expect extreme professionalism working with this company.
Caption Media Group looks for offline closed captioners for television, movies, videos, and other pre-programmed recordings.
You must have at least two years of experience with closed captioning software.
The company doesn’t always list its jobs on its website. However, you can send your inquiry using the contact form on the website to check about possible job opportunities.
CBS offers transcription services for the finance industry, so knowledge of financial products and tools is a plus.
Working here, you get paid training by experienced professionals and receive competitive pay.
Depending on your availability, you can have a schedule between 16 and 40 hours per week and receive a starting compensation of $8.25 an hour that can get a raise after training.
CSD is a company that helps make communication efforts easier for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
The company offers freelance positions for captioners to provide captions for videos, TV broadcasts, movies, and more.
You can find these positions listed under Captioning Assistant, which requires you to listen to a speaker on the phone and then type what they say.
You can work full-time and part-time, starting with $12 per hour, and are eligible for raises twice a year.
Vitac provides captioning services to clients around the world, for both real and offline captions. Some prominent clients include Lifetime, BBC America, and Discovery Channel.
For the offline captioner position, the company requires you to have a Bachelor’s degree.
The real-time captioning position doesn’t specify the need for a degree but requires a typing speed of at least 225 WPM. For real-time captioning, the company also demands you to complete a one-week, on-site paid training.
With Rev, you work as an independent contractor and earn between $0.45 and $0.75 per audio minute. That varies depending on the complexity of your captioning task. The company makes weekly payouts via PayPal.
The work is flexible, and you can choose your availability for work. You can apply by filling out the form on the website, and the company will contact you within 48 hours.
TTC does captions and subtitles for movies, videos, and television.
Some clients they serve are A&E, Big Fish Entertainment, and The History Channel.
If you are interested in a position, use the contact form on the website to inquire about job openings for offline or real-time captioners.
NCI works with both offline and live captioning clients and occasionally has openings for remote captioners.
The Live Voice Writer position is one of its most common, and NCI has several shifts open from morning till night.
After you get hired, NCI requires you to complete training in new captioning areas that you don’t have experience with.
Employees are eligible for medical benefits, paid time off, paid training, and much more.
Alorica has a wide range of digital services for companies in a variety of industries, like healthcare, media, and energy.
Alorica seeks freelancers to offer transcription and caption services to its clients.
Pay and schedule will depend on the need of the specific client.
If you don’t find an open position on the Careers page, you can contact the company with an application form.
13- Vanan Captioning
Vanan offers a range of services to its clients, including closed captioning, live captioning, video captioning, etc.
They occasionally hire freelancers to provide their services to clients.
To apply, you can fill out a form with your information, skills, and relevant experience, and the company will get back to you.
14- ASC Services
ASC Services provides captioning services to top clients, like ABC, CNN, and Fox News. The company regularly hires transcribers and captioners.
You must have at least three years of work experience as a captioner or transcriber, knowledge of current events, and a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism.
Netflix, like most TV and movie services, captions many of its programs so that those who are hard of hearing can still enjoy them.
The company hires both captioners and caption editors to ensure that their captions are accurate.
16- Quick Caption
Quick Caption is a smaller player that offers captioning services for clients. The site doesn’t list open positions but hires on an as-needed basis.
You can fill out the online form with your information, skills, and availability, and they will contact you if something opens that fits your skills.
17- RNK Productions
RNK specializes in transcription and captioning of television programs, movies, videos, and other pre-recorded stuff.
The company doesn’t list the openings often, but you can request information about job opportunities via the contact form on the website.
Alternatively, you can also email your resume with complete details about your experience and skills.
18- AI Media
AI is a media company that offers offline and real-time closed captioning services for videos, TV, and more.
Companies like Amazon, Shopify, and Mozilla have used its services.
AI Media hires freelancers for captioning and transcription services and pays up to $42 per video hour.
You can work on a flexible schedule that meets your needs.
Most of the opportunities are available mostly in the UK and Australia, although sometimes there are other global openings too.
19- 3 Play Media
3 Play Media is another well-known company for providing transcription and captioning services to its clients.
The company occasionally offers transcriptionist, captioner, or editor positions.
Working for the company, you become eligible for medical, sick and vacation pay, 401(k), social events, and many more benefits.
You will need excellent communication and typing skills. Native English speaking and writing skills are also the primary requirements.
The company, though famous for transcription jobs, also offers captioning tasks.
You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the US or Canada.
Dotsub offers freelance positions for sub-titlers and captioners, especially if they are bilingual.
You must be a US resident and native English-speaker.
Besides transcription, the company also offers captioning jobs.
You can earn up to $0.60 per audio minute, and the average monthly earnings are about $150, but it’s a good gig if you’re looking for some side work.
23- Impact Media
IM is a company that provides captioning and subtitle services for its clients.
The company serves both the United States and Canada and hires freelancers in the same regions.
Use the website’s contact page or email Impact Media about your interest in working for them.
24- Transcribe Me
Transcribe Me is a well-known company offering consistent transcription and captioning work.
The company pays up to $22 per audio hour, but those with medical or legal experience may be eligible to earn more.
TransPerfect Translations offers a position called Voice Writer, which is essentially a role that requires you to use voice recognition software to transcribe and caption broadcasts, videos, and more.
They prefer medical, legal, or other captioning and transcription experience. You must be able to work full time between Monday and Friday each week.
Other Places To Find Close Captioning Jobs
Apart from the above websites that are dedicated to transcription or closed captioning jobs, there are other resources where you can try your luck to find captioning gigs.
When searching, use keywords such as “captioner,” “captioning,” and “closed captioner jobs.”
Note: These resources may or may not have captioning job listings at the time you search, so keep coming back to them regularly.
31- WorkIn Entertainment
Besides these, there are micro-work sites that prove useful when searching for closed captioning jobs.
Here are a few sites to check:
How To Improve Your Captioning Skills
Captioning takes a lot of practice, so it’s critical that, if you want to succeed, you must master the skills.
Though most of the companies look for experience, there are several and websites you can use as resources to help you move ahead of your competition.
The National Court Reporting Association (NCRA) is an excellent resource to find valuable content as you start your career.
Since many captioning jobs require excellent transcription skills, starting with related jobs is not a bad idea.
Some places to look to practice your skills and get more experience are:
The site offers a free account for people who want to practice transcription and captioning work. You will hear audio files and type the words. The site will let you know how fast and accurately you are. As you move along, you can choose various stages to increase the difficulty levels.
The place is perfect for practicing your skills in your spare time. You can download the audio/video files for free to use with the free version of the software.
With this, you can test your knowledge of captioning to see where you stand among your peers.
Here you can test your skills using a free online typing test.
Finding closed captioning jobs that allow you to work from home can be rewarding.
If you type fast and accurately, then closed captioning jobs are the way to go. However, getting into this field is tricky than compared to some other typing jobs.
That’s it from me. Now, it’s your turn to try these websites and share your feedback comments.
If you have questions, please feel free to reach out, I am glad to answer your queries!
Best of luck!