What Is Caption Reporting?

Caption reporting is a growing field that is used in entertainment, the court system, conferences, and other locations that combine audio and text. If you have a sharp ear for detail and are interested in helping others access information, a career in caption reporting may be right for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Defined

Caption reporting is used by court reporters, conference reporters, broadcast captioners, and CART (real-time) reporters. It refers to the process of recording spoken voices as written text. You may have seen caption reporting when you've used captions on television or read the transcript of an audio recording. Caption reporting is commonly used for two main purposes: for events like court proceedings and conferences or for the aid of people who have difficulty hearing.

Important Facts About This Field

Median Salary (2018) $57,150 (for all court reporters)
Similar Occupations Interpreter, translator, medical transcriptionist
Required Education Postsecondary certificate or associate degree
Key Skills Concentration, listening, and detail orientation

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Court and Conference Reporters

Court and conference reporters use recording equipment to transcribe the audio from court proceedings or conference meetings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), conference and court reporters may also be referred to as webcasters or Internet information reporters. They may use stenotype machines, which are often connected with computers. These computers convert the symbols that are keyed in on the stenotype machine into real-time text or captions. Reporters may also use audio recording devices to record proceedings; they transcribe the recording after the event is over.

CART Captioning

CART refers to Communication Access Real-time Translation and is a process of captioning that is used to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing. CART reporters may travel with hard-of-hearing people to courses, appointments, meetings, or other locations. Caption reporting via CART is also available remotely as long as users have a phone or Internet connection.

Broadcast Captioners

Many television networks and news outlets employ broadcast captioners to transcribe audio into a written caption. Captions help the deaf or hard-of-hearing fully participate in media. Broadcast captioners may use a computer to complete real-time captioning, especially if they are writing captions for news broadcasts or sporting events.

Career Opportunities

There are many opportunities available to you if you're interested in a career in caption reporting. The BLS has stated that employment for court reporters was expected to grow by 3% in the period between 2016 and 2026, which is slower than average. Demand is especially growing for workers in real-time broadcast captioning. This growth in caption reporting comes in part because of legislation requiring all new television programming, including Spanish-language programming, to have captions. The Americans with Disabilities Act also increases demand for skilled caption reporters because it requires universities and colleges to offer real-time translation of classes.

Certification

In order to take full advantage of career opportunities for caption and court reporters, you may want to consider certification. Certifications are available from several professional organizations, including the National Court Reporters Association and the United States Court Reporters Association. Certifications specifically related to captioning include the Certified Broadcast Captioner and Certified CART Provider credentials; these are both offered through the National Court Reporters Association.

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