Real-Time Captioners

Real-time captioners, also known as broadcast captioners, operate a computer-aided transcription (CAT) stenotype system to create closed captions for use in live television broadcasts, in classroom instruction, or in other scenarios requiring live translating or interpreting on the computer. Computer-aided real-time translation, or CART, refers to the use of machine steno shorthand skills to produce real-time text on a computer. Generally, captioning systems use a modified stenotype machine connected to a computer. The real-time captioner inputs the captions phonetically (transcription or speech sounds) on the steno machine, and the sounds are then translated into English words by the computer using a special dictionary created by the captioner. During a live broadcast, the captions are entered as the program progresses, much as a court reporter transcribes a trial as it progresses. The input data is sent along telephone lines to the broadcast point, where the caption codes become part of the television signal.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Broadcast Captioners
Duties Operate computer-aided transcription (CAT) stenotype systems to create closed captions for use in live television broadcasts and other settings
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, urban areas
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • English
  • Journalism
Experience Previous court or field reporting experience is highly recommended
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Technical
  • Computer
  • Digital Media
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Supervisor
  • Experienced Real-Time Captioner
  • Entry-Level Real-Time Captioner
  • Court Reporter

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